Team Records: Portland (2-5) at Sacramento (2-5)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Sacramento -2
The Skinny: The Blazers travel to Sacramento Tuesday as they attempt to stop their losing streak at four. Sacramento’s only wins this year have come narrowly over Golden State and Detroit at home. The Kings will be without DeMarcus Cousins, who is suspended for a verbal altercation with Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliot following their loss Friday to the Spurs.
Last Season: The teams split the season series 2-2, with both teams winning the two games on their own home court.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-James Johnson (Wake Forest-4th Season) 5.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 APG.
SF-Travis Outlaw (Starkville (HS)-10th Season)-3.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.3 APG.
C-Jason Thompson (Rider-5th Season) 10.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.4 APG
SG-Tyreke Evans (Memphis-4th Season)-11.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.3 APG.
PG-Isaiah Thomas (Washington-2nd Season)-11.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.4 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: “Jingle Bells” as song by the Detroit Pistons several years ago-DeMarcus Cousins has been compared by many to Rasheed Wallace so I thought we’d bring out some of Sheed’s attempts at singing. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles).
Sacramento: Out-PF DeMarcus Cousins (Suspension).
Early in Sacramento’s home opener a few weeks ago, a black tarp covering up the signage of a former advertiser fell onto the court, stopping play. Then it happened again, and finally a third time. These incidents basically describe the Kings as an organization right now, stuck with a team consistently among the worst in the league, in a city they want out of, with bad ownership and in perhaps the worst arena in the entire NBA. On offense, the Kings go it alone, not doing a good job passing the ball at all and, more often than not just throwing up a bad shot and hoping it works, which is perhaps why they are second to last in the NBA in offensive efficiency. On defense their stats look deceptively good, appearing to rank them in the middle of the NBA while in reality they are typically, to put it bluntly, awful. To add to all this, they have Cousins suspended now and have already had rookie Thomas Robinson suspended earlier this season for a deliberate elbow to Jonas Jerekbo. In short, they are simply not a very good team, to say the least.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. This is a team Portland should beat if they are ready to go. Without Cousins, even as tired as they are from Monday’s loss, they should be able to get it done with energy and effort.
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 without Cousins in there.