Team Records: Portland (38-19) at Sacramento (20-36)
Game Info: 3 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: TBD
The Skinny: The Blazers look to build off of Friday’s thrilling win over OKC as they head to Sacramento to face one of the league’s more intriguing teams. Sure the Kings have an awful record but they finally have a good coach in George Karl. Sacramento is 2-2 since Karl became head coach and has been in every single one of their games late, so they are no easy mark anymore.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers took advantage of Sacramento’s mistakes as they overcame an otherwise flat performance to beat the Kings 98-94.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Jason Thompson (Rider-7th Season)-5.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, .9 APG.
SF-Rudy Gay (Connecticut-9th Season)-20 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.9 APG.
C-Reggie Evans (Iowa-13th Season)-4.1 PPG, 7 RPG, .7 APG
SG-Ben McLemore (Kansas-2nd Season)-11.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.5 APG.
PG-Ray McCallum (Detroit-2nd Season)-5.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.7 APG.
Player to Watch: Jason Thompson (pictured at right)– It usually comes later than this in the NBA draft but in the 2008 NBA Draft Jason Thompson became that year’s first player to be picked for whom ESPN had no film ready to go. A player that frankly hadn’t been highly thought of in college, and was not anywhere near the top of the NBA draft boards. Yet, he hasn’t exactly been spectacular in the league but neither has he been a complete bust either. Thompson tries hard even if he isn’t the most talented player on the floor. He is a solid, decent sort of player, a good enough interior defender and a decent rebounder. He falls in love with the long two too much on offense, probably because he lacks a real post game. Yet, while he might not be a starter on any decent team, he’s not a bad bench caliber-player of the sort that stays in the NBA for a decent length of time.
Did You Know?: There are only two players on the Kings roster that were there before their current GM showed up, Cousins and Thompson.
Song of the Day: “Rip City Rhapsody” by the Blazers. This song/poem just feels right for Sunday’s game . Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Shoulder)
Sacramento: Out-SF Eric Moreland (Shoulder), PG Darren Collison (Hip), Doubtful-C DeMarcus Cousins (Hip/Ankle)
Re-Evaluating Sacramento: One Right Step
Hey the Kings finally did something good! They got George Karl to be their new head coach. Although he has never won an NBA title, Karl is certainly one of the most respected coaches in the league and is good at building young talented rosters. Yet, it will take a lot more than one good coach to turn the team around. The Kings have been mismanaged for so long that it will likely take at least several years for them to be no longer terrible. However, for their long suffering fans, one step forward is better than nothing forward at all, or worse, a step back, as Sacramento has oft seen these past several years.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. The Kings without Cousins are not capable of beating Portland if the Blazers are ready to go and play a reasonably clean game. If they are focused, the Blazers 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 the win.