Sacramento Kings: Game 28 Preview vs Portland Trail Blazers

BY Fansided and Tyler Watts/FanSided via A Royal Pain • December 20, 2016

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) dunks over Portland Trail Blazers forward Mason Plumlee (24) in overtime at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings return home for a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 20, 2016.  This article provides a preview of that action.

Tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers invade the Golden 1 Center to do battle against the Sacramento Kings.  The previous meeting this season was a joy to watch.  The Blazers ended up nipping the Kings 122-120 in overtime.  Below is a highlight video from that game to refresh your memory on the happenings.

Without further ado, let us get to the game preview for tonight’s contest between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) drives on Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) in the first half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries

The Kings enter tonight’s contest with two players listed as questionable.  Rudy Gay has missed the last 3 games with a hip flexor strain and Omri Casspi has missed the last 2 games with an illness.  It is a truly a 50-50 call as of this writing if either man suits up tonight, so stay tuned to twitter or watch the pregame show to get clarification before tipoff.

The Portland Trail Blazers enter tonight’s contest with some injuries of their own.  Al-Farouq Aminu is listed as questionable with a back contusion.  He has not played in their last 3 games and has been limited 12 games so far this season by a multitude of injuries.  Be on the lookout for his status as the game approaches.

The Blazers have been without Festus Ezeli all season with a knee injury.  Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania recently reported Ezeli will undergo knee surgery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.  That is a tough blow for the recent free agent signing, but I am hoping for a speedy recovery.

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots over Sacramento Kings guard Ty Lawson (10) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers’ Scouting Report

The Portland Trail Blazers’ season has not gone as planned so far.  Injuries and poor play have got the playoff hopeful out to a start of 13 wins and 16 losses.  They are currently 8th in the Western Conference but were expecting more this season.

The Blazers have lost their last 2 games and 6 out of their last 7 games.  It has been a rough stretch, so maybe the Kings can take advantage of that tonight.

Last time out, they traveled to Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors and were demolished by a final score of 135 to 90.  Below is a highlight video from that game to give you a glimpse at their current form.

All-Star Point Guard and Rapper, Damian Lillard, leads the Trail Blazers in points, assists, turnovers, and minutes per game this season.  Lillard is averaging a career high in points per game while shooting career high percentages from both the field and the free throw line.   It appears he may be improving his efficiency and taking another step forward in his age 26 season.

This is a fun team to watch because they play at a fast pace, love to score, and feature one of the NBA’s worst statistical defenses.  That means lots of points on both sides and some fun back and forth action.  That should make tonight’s game a joy to watch so tune in and buckle up.

Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo (40) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe (23) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch for?

What Happens Tonight?

Do find yourself wondering if Rudy Gay returns tonight? Or if DeMarcus Cousins continues his ludicrous scoring pace? Or if the Kings end their streak of scoring less than 100 points in tonight’s game?

Well if you want to read my thoughts on all those topics and what I predict the Kings’ box score to look like at the end of tonight’s game then, check out my predicting the box score column found here.  Thank you.

Stopping the Blazers Dynamic Backcourt Duo

More from A Royal Pain

    The key to defeating the Portland Trail Blazers this season is slowing down Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.  They are truly the engine of the Blazers’ offense.  The duo averages 49.4 points per game on 36.2 field goal attempts.  Combined they take over 41 percent of the Blazers’ field goal attempts on average.

    The Kings struggle on the defensive ends specifically against guards, so it will be a tall task tonight.  In the first meeting, Lillard and McCollum combined for 67 points on 25 of 43 from the field.  The Kings have to do better if they want to walk away victorious tonight.

    Arron Afflalo Parking It

    As many of you know, Arron Afflalo has been out of the rotation completely the last two games.  This month, he has not received more than 17 minutes in any of the 9 games.  Afflalo was struggling and the Kings have Ben McLemore and Garrett Temple, so this should not come as a huge surprise.

    The bombshell came across the wire when Carmichael Dave reported that Afflalo refused to enter the game in Houston.  If this report is true and I have no reason to believe it is false, I would not expect Afflalo in the rotation anytime soon and more could be coming of this story in the near future.  Stay tuned.

    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

    Summary

    There you have it, my preview of tonight’s contest between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers.  Please head out to the Golden 1 Center or tune in from home because this should be can’t miss basketball.  The Kings have a good chance to win tonight and that is improved by the Blazers struggles on the road this season.  Here is to hoping, the Kings make that victory a reality tonight.

    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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