Team Records: Sacramento (6-11) at Portland (9-7)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 750 AM the Game.
Vegas Line: Portland -10.5
Refs: Eddie F. Rush, Tony Brown, Marat Kogut.
The Skinny: The Blazers look to rebound from their worst loss of the season Saturday in Detroit in the first of 3 games in 3 nights vs. Sacramento. The Kings have been up and down this year, but have been playing well as of late after firing their head coach shortly after the season began. This is the easiest opponent the Blazers will face in this 3 game set.
Last Time They Met: The game remained even through the first half but a Portland run early in the second half put the game away for good as the Blazers cruised to a 22-point win. Gerald Wallace scored 25 points to lead the Blazers.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Jason Thompson (Rider-4th Season) 6.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, .8 APG.
SF-Francisco Garcia (Louisville-7th Season)-4.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, .5 APG.
C-DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky-2nd Season)-14.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, .8 APG
SG-Tyreke Evans (Memphis-3rd Season)-16.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.4 APG.
PG-Jimmer Fredette (BYU-Rookie)-7.6 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 2.1 APG.
Player to Watch-Jimmer Fredette (pictured at right)-Teach me how to Jimmer, teach me, team me how to Jimmer. Even before he was drafted Jimmer attracted a lot of attention, both for his play at BYU and for a music video titled “Teach Me How to Jimmer” (Linked here: bit.ly/hAMml9). When it comes to basketball, Jimmer is a solid scorer from deep with good passing skills. Although he has struggled with consistently making deep shots, this is not surprisingly for a rookie. Where Jimmer struggles, however, is on defense. He gets easily beaten off the dribble by lots of players, as Nicolas Batum did time and again in their first matchup with Portland this season.
Did You Know?: The Kings franchise won 1 NBA title, in 1951, as the Rochester Royals. One of the players on that team was Red Holtzman, who would later coach the NY Knicks to 2 titles (1970 and 1973) as part of a 15-year tenure in New York. Holtzman was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985.
Portland: Out-C Greg Oden (Knee), Probable-SF Gerald Wallace (Finger).
Sacramento: Out-PF Chuck Hayes (Shoulder), Doubtful-SG Marcus Thornton (Thigh), Questionable-SF John Salmons (Stomach Virus).
Re-Evaluating Sacramento: The Joy of Rookies:
Ever since firing their head coach a few weeks ago, Sacramento seems to have completely embraced the necessity of playing their young players, especially their rookies Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas. The results have been about what you’d expect, good at times but largely inconsistent. For example, Thomas has scored as many as 20 in a game vs. Toronto while in their last game, vs. Memphis Saturday, he scored only 2 on 1-7 shooting. Still, if you are a bad team you have to figure out what you might have than to keep losing games anyways and not find out if you have something you can build on.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. One big reason Portland lost four games on this road trip was simply that they were not focused throughout the game. Against a clearly inferior opponent, they must avoid that trap at home Monday.
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, especially without Marcus Thronton playing Monday.