Team Records: Sacramento (1-3) at Portland (2-2)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -7
Refs: Tom Washington, Marat Kogut, Leon Wood
The Skinny: The Blazers begin a home and home back to back series Friday night as they host the struggling Sacramento Kings. Sacramento, one could argue, has already achieved much this year merely by not moving to Seattle during the off-season but on the court, they have struggled early and it should continue. Portland will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss Tuesday at home against the Rockets while Sacramento has dropped three straight since winning their home opener.
Last Season: The teams split the season series 2-2, for the second straight season, with each winning once at home and once on the road.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Patrick Patterson (Kentucky-4th Season) 4.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, .5 APG.
SF-John Salmons (Miami (FL)-11th Season)-6.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3 APG.
C-DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky-4th Season)-18.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.8 APG
SG-Marcus Thornton (LSU-5th Season)-10.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, .8 APG.
PG-Greivis Vasquez (Maryland-4th Season)-9 PPG, 2 RPG, 3.8 APG.
Player to Watch: Marcus Thronton (pictured at right)-We often hear that NBA players need to trust themselves, that they need to believe in their own abilities if they are to have a chance at success. That is not a problem for Thornton. Thornton firmly believes every time he gets the ball that he will shoot it and it will go in. He has ample reason to believe this as he is a good slasher with a knack for scoring inside and when he gets hot from deep can pour them in from there as well. Most importantly, Thornton rarely turns the ball over, making him an effective offensive weapon. However, Thornton is severely limited on defense. It is not known whether it is an issue of talent or simply because he spends most of his energy on the defensive end but he is simply not good. Still, he has burned Portland in the past and likely will again if the Kings want to have any shot.
Did You Know?: Isaiah Thomas has no relation to the hall of famer by the same name. The name came about as the result of a bet between Thomas’s father on which team (the Lakers or Pistons) would win the 1989 NBA finals. Since the Pistons won, the baby was named after Detroit’s star.
Song of the Day: “The Distance” by Cake. One of Sacramento’s best known bands and one of their best known songs. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Foot), Questionable-C Joel Freeland (Hip).
Sacramento: Out-PF Carl Landry (Hip)
The good news for Kings fans is that they aren’t going anywhere, they have a new owner and seemingly at least some direction to move forward. Unfortunately, on the court the news is far less rosy. On offense, the Kings are that horrible combination of slow-paced an inefficient, with the fourth slowest pace in the NBA and a middle of the road offensive efficiency. They also do not do a good job passing the ball on offense, ranking near the bottom of the league in assists. Sometimes it seems that their offense consists of throwing up a bad shot and hoping it works, which is, of course, no way to win games. On defense they are simply bad, ranking 27th in defensive efficiency, but unlike Portland (which ranks dead last in 30th) they lack the offense to make up for their bad defense. They are good enough to stay in a lot of games but rarely good enough to win them, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: Hold Sacramento under 100 points. This is a team Portland should beat if they are ready to go. If they can hold the Kings under 100, they should roll.
Sacramento wins if: They score at least 20 fast break points. The Kings will need to take advantage of any easy baskets they get if they want to get only their second win this season.