Team Records: Portland (28-32) at Sacramento (19-41)
Game Info: 3 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 750 AM the Game.
Vegas Line: Sacramento -2.5
Refs: Mike Callahan, David Jones, Derek Richardson.
The Skinny: The Blazers travel to Sacramento Sunday for the first in a back to back after a furious comeback rally Friday night vs. Dallas at home fell just short. The Blazers are the first team to visit Sacramento since the Maloofs basically gave the city the finger and pulled out of the arena deal on Friday. The Kings have lost seven straight and rarely have any of those games been close.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers put on a “how not to run a fast break” clinic as they blew chance after chance off the break and fell in Sacramento by 3. It was, in retrospect, a harbinger of the flat play that was to come.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Jason Thompson (Rider-4th Season) 8.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG.
SF-Tyreke Evans (Memphis-3rd Season)-16.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.7 APG.
C-DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky-2nd Season)-17.7 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 1.6 APG
SG-Marcus Thornton (LSU-3rd Season)-18.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2 APG.
PG-Isaiah Thomas (Washington-Rookie)-11.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.9 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: “Fire Water Burn” by Bloodhound Gang-A song that accurately describes what the Maloofs have done to Sacramento. They don’t need no water, let the Sacramento Kings burn, burn Sacramento Kings, burn. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Shoulder), PF Shawne Williams (Foot), PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Hip), Probable-SF Nicolas Batum (Quad).
Sacramento: Questionable-SG Francisco Garcia (Concussion), SF John Salmons (Hip), C Hassan Whiteside (Ankle).
Re-Evaluating Sacramento: Destroying a City’s Soul
As a fellow fan of a small market team I have always felt a special bond with other small market teams. In a one team city, like Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City or San Antonio, the team forms a large portion of the identity and I will readily admit the thought of the Blazers not playing in Portland anymore scares the crap out of me. Yet a year ago when Sacramento was about to lose their team I at least understood to the point that their arena was outdated and the city wasn’t ready to step up to fix it. Yet now they have and it was only two months ago that Kings fans celebrated the final approval of a deal that appeared to save the team. That was fine until the Maloofs announced on Friday that the deal was no good and they wanted out, possibly because they are broke and Anaheim offered an even better deal than the sweatheart deal Sacamento had put together. With David Stern admitting there is little he can do to stop the team from moving, all one can do is hope that some white knight steps in and saves the team from this move. The Kings, even as bad as they are right now on the court, have something special in Sacramento, and it would behoove the league to keep it that way rather than letting the Kings become just another LA area sports team, no more special than any other.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. This is a team Portland should beat if they are ready to go. They have to play like they have on the road recently, with fervor and energy, if they want to get this 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.