Sacramento Kings: Game 32 Preview at Portland Trail Blazers

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts after scoring a basket over Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard (11) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts after scoring a basket over Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard (11) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings head to Portland to face the Trail Blazers on December 28, 2016.  This article provides a preview of that action.

Tonight, the Sacramento Kings head to the Moda Center in Portland to face the Trail Blazers.  This will be the third meeting between the two teams already this season.  The Kings walked away victorious in the last meeting on December 20th.  It was a thrilling contest that ended up 126-121 after a 33 point 4th quarter from Sacramento.  Below is a highlight video from that contest in case you missed it.

Without further ado, here is my preview of tonight’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo (40) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo (40) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries

The Kings enter tonight’s contest relatively healthy.  Arron Afflalo is listed as questionable with an elbow sprain, but he is the only man on the injury report for the Kings.

Portland injury list is small but significant.  All-Star Damian Lillard is listed as doubtful tonight with an ankle sprain.  Lillard missed the team’s last game and does not look likely to play tonight.

Be sure to check twitter or watch the pregame show to get any last minute news you need to know before tipoff.

Dec 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) shoots the ball against Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Kings 126-121. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) shoots the ball against Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Kings 126-121. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers’ Scouting Report

I think it is safe to say that the season has not gone as Portland hoped so far.  The Blazers are currently out of the playoffs in the Western Conference with a record of 13 wins and 20 losses.  The team is also riding a 6 game losing streak and have lost 10 of their last 11 games.  Throw in the Lillard injury and things have been going quite negatively for the Portland Trail Blazers this season.

In their last game, the Blazers were defeated by the Toronto Raptors 95-91 in Portland.  Below is a highlight video to give you a look at the Lillard-less Blazers.

If Lillard is out, expect C.J. McCollum to take over at point guard and be the engine of the offense.  McCollum was the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season and had a true breakout year.  He has only improved on that this season.  He is scoring more points per game on higher percentages from the field, 3-point line, and free throw line.   Expect a big McCollum game tonight against the Kings.

Jan 26, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) during the first quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 26, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) during the first quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch for?

Boogie Night

DeMarcus Cousins has owned the Portland Trail Blazers so far this season.  On December 20th, Boogie dropped 55 points against the Blazers.  In the two games combined this season, Cousins is averaging 44.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.5 blocks, and 4.0 3-pointers made per game against Portland.  In those games, he is shooting 58.0% from the field, 84.6% from the free throw line, and 53.3% from 3-point land.  Remarkable numbers to say the least.

No reason to believe that Portland will be able to hold Boogie in check tonight.  Portland struggles on the defensive end and Cousins has been playing at an extremely high level.

If you want to see my prediction of DeMarcus Cousins’ statistical line for tonight’s game or any other Kings’ player, then check out my predicting the box score column found here.  It provides a box score prediction as well as some stats to get you primed for tonight’s game.  Thank you for reading.

Slowing Down McCollum

C.J. McCollum loves seeing the Kings on the schedule.  In two games this season against Sacramento, he is averaging 33.5 points, 4.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 3-pointers made per game while shooting 56.5% from the field.  McCollum has made a habit of scoring a ton of points against the Kings next to Damian Lillard, imagine if Lillard is out tonight.

The guards need to make McCollum work tonight.  No guard should be shooting 56.5% on 23 attempts per game against the Kings.  Darren Collison, Ty Lawson, Garrett Temple, and Ben McLemore need to step up and shut down McCollum tonight.  He should be the number one option and the Blazers will go as he goes tonight, so here is to hope that Sacramento steps up the defense and holds him in check.

Tale of the Tape

Tonight’s game is a tale of history versus current production.  The Kings have not been the Blazers in Portland since 2012.  That is correct, the Kings have lost 7 straight games in Portland.

If you view both teams most recent production, the Kings have won 4 straight games and the Blazers have lost 6 straight.

From this observer’s viewpoint, the Kings looked primed to break the streak of losing in Portland tonight.  If Damian Lillard is out, the odds of that happening only increase.

Dec 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives past Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives past Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Summary

There you have it, my game preview for what should be a wild back and forth shootout tonight between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers.  Expect a fun and action packed game with plenty of drama, so please tune in for the ride.

Be sure to check back to A Royal Pain for postgame content and everything you need to know about the Kings this season.  Thank you for reading.

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