Team Records: Sacramento (27-51) at Portland (50-28)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -13
Refs: Bill Kennedy, Kane Fitzgerald, Derek Richardson
Playoff Picture: Portland has secured their spot in the 2014 playoffs. The Blazers currently sit in fifth place and would play Houston if the playoffs started today.
The Skinny: The Blazers look to build off of the momentum from their win over the Pelicans Sunday in what looks to be their final “easy” home game of the year. The Kings were supposed to be bad this year and they have been. Sacramento has lost three straight and six of their last eight overall.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers sleepwalked through much of the game and woke up too late, despite Lillard scoring a franchise-record 26 points in the fourth as Portland scored 41 in the final quarter in the loss.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Reggie Evans (Iowa-12th Season)-3.8 PPG, 6 RPG, .3 APG.
SF-Rudy Gay (Connecticut-8th Season)-20.2 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.9 APG.
C-DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky-4th Season)-22.3 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.9 APG
SG-Ben McLemore (Kansas-Rookie)-8.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, .9 APG.
PG-Ray McCallum (Detroit-Rookie)-5.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.3 APG
Player to Watch: Ben McLemore (pictured at right)-Coming into the NBA this year, Ben McLemore was compared by some to Ray Allen but he was compared by his own college head coach Bill Self to Brandon Rush. He’s more the later than the former. Seen as a prospect with very good shooting skills and the ability to pull off the spectacular, McLemore has proven himself only in dunking. He only shoots 31% from 3, not horrible but a far cry from a player that shot 42% from 3 at Kansas. Whether it is immaturity or something else, McLemore has often been accused of showing a lack of passion. Although he is still young and there is yet time to correct this, it has certainly been a very disappointing rookie season for this one-time phenom.
Did You Know?: DeMarcus Cousins has 50 double doubles this season tying him with Chris Webber for the most double-doubles in any season in Kings history.
Song of the Day: “Looks Like We Made It” by Barry Manilow-Yes, it looks like the Blazers have indeed made it back to the playoffs. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee)
Sacramento: Out-PF Carl Landry (Hip), SG Jason Terry (Knee), Questionable-PG Isaiah Thomas (Quad)
Reevaluating Sacramento: Any Hope for the Kings?
Well its another lost season in Sacramento, the eighth straight season without a playoff appearance and, more depressingly perhaps, likely the sixth straight season with a winning percentage of under .350. Yes the Kings are better this year than last although much of that has to do with Rudy Gay’s acquisition and he’s not a long term answer to anything for the Kings. They will have lots of cap space not this summer but next but if they are any good next year they will likely lose their pick to the Bulls in the 2015 draft. Well, at least the Maloof’s don’t own the team anymore. Bottom line the Kings are a mess and although they will probably eventually get better its hard to imagine that happening anytime soon.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make someone other than Cousins beat them. As we saw last night, Cousins is very good but no one else really is. The Blazers need to keep that second threat from emerging if they want to win.
Sacramento wins if: They score at least 20 fast break points. The Kings are not a great offensive team. They will need to get a lot of easy baskets to have a shot against Portland.