Team Records: Sacramento (9-18) at Portland (13-13)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Portland -6
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from their second straight loss to the Kings as they close out the season series at home. Portland had won five straight before losing in Sacramento on Sunday. The Kings secured their only road win of the season so far in their last visit to Portland and have lost six of their last seven against teams not named Portland.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers came out flat and the Kings took advantage, pulling away in the second half to win comfortably.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Jason Thompson (Rider-5th Season) 11.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG
SF-John Salmons (Miami (FL)-11th Season) 7.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3 APG.
C-DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky-3rd Season) 16.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG,2.1 APG
SG-Marcus Thornton (LSU-4th Season)-13.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.3 APG.
PG-Aaron Brooks (Oregon-5th Season)-9.2 PPG, 2 RPG, 2.6 APG.
Player to Watch: Thomas Robinson (Pictured at right)-There was little doubt in Thomas Robinson’s mind last June that Thomas Robinson should be the #1 overall pick instead of Anthony Davis. Confidence is not an attribute Robinson has ever lacked, which is perhaps why this only 40th ranked recruit in the 2009 HS class was able to work hard enough to jump ahead of almost everyone else. Robinson is a relentless finisher inside, although he too often settles for a long jumper, which is questionable at best. On defense, he should be better than he is but that perhaps will develop in time. Still, so far this year, as with much surrounding the Kings, it is fair to say that Robinson has been more than a little disappointing, not that this will stay the same if he has anything to say about it.
Did You Know?: Kings broadcaster Grant Napear is one of the NBA’s hidden gems, with catchphrases such as “”Put it in the book and send him to the line!” and “Turn the sprinkler systems on because (said player) is on fire!”
Song of the Day: “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder-The Kings seem to have the Blazers number this month, handing them two of their three losses. Maybe the Blazers can break the superstition that we can’t play well against this team. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), Questionable-PG Nolan Smith (Illness), SG Wesley Matthews (Hip).
Sacramento: Questionable- SG Tyreke Evans (Knee).
Re-Evaluating Sacramento: Stuck in Neutral
As a fan, you hope rebuilding is a quick progress, or at least one that seems to move consistently forward. Two years ago, the Kings were thought to be on the rise, a young team led by Evans and Cousins who seemed ready to take that step from doormat to playoff contender but instead they remained stuck in neutral. The Kings have floundered in perhaps one of the more painful rungs of NBA hell, one where not only aren’t you very good but there is almost no hope you’ll get better anytime soon. It is perhaps no surprise that the once rabid fanbase of Sacramento is disappearing, regardless of the Maloof’s strong expressed desire to move. Its hard to support a team that is bad and staying that way, just ask the Clippers, being a perpetual doormat sucks.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. This is a team Portland should beat if they are ready to go. There is no reason Portland can’t simply win if they show up with reasonable effort, something they didn’t do the last time these teams played.
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.