Game Time: 3:00 p.m. TV: CSNNW
So...after all these years of work, sweating and writing to build the site...after all the years of watching the Blazers back to the championship year...after all the ups and downs and sweat and speculation it comes down to this. I get to preview the 28-32 post-trade-deadline Portland Trail Blazers playing out the string without their best player against the 19-41 Sacramento Kings who have lost 7 straight and 12 out of their last 14. It's like being appointed the CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation and then told your task for the day will be to run the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland. Just shoot me now.
The Kings are playing...poorly. They can't score and they've allowed every opponent in their last 14 games save one to top 100 points. (The only exception? They lost 93-85 to the Clippers.) Even the short-handed Blazers should have enough firepower to defeat this disinterested defense. EXCEPT the Kings still have DeMarcus Cousins. The Blazers had no answer for him even when they were at full strength. Cousins could personally rip this team apart if he cared to. EXCEPT Cousins is playing like he's already on summer vacation, scoring in single digits in 4 of his last 6 games and racking up personal fouls like Imelda Marcos racked up shoes. EXCEPT he did come out of hiding against the Hornets and Suns in the last couple weeks, scoring 25 and 41 respectively. EXCEPT his wingman Tyreke Evans has also been taking mini-vacations, checking out and scoring little. EXCEPT Portland's guard defense is so intermittent that Evans can't help but be tempted. EXCEPT he's now playing small forward by default because John Salmons has been out which leaves him the biggest of a three-guard lineup with Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas, a lineup against which Portland's three scoring-eager guards should prosper. EXCEPT the Blazers still don't prosper on the road much. EXCEPT the Kings haven't prospered much at home lately either.
And then there's the certain implosion when Jimmer Fredette and Luke Babbitt take the floor together competing for the coveted "Guy Most Likely to Bring Team (Forlorn) Hope for Next Season" award. No word on whether there will be a swimsuit competition.
(sigh) At best this will be a repeat of Golden State-Portland contest a couple games back, a run-amok, defense-free score-fest that leaves the crowd cheering for individual plays. At worst this will be a sloppy crap-fest by incompetent teams. Somewhere in the middle lies the possibility of a blowout one way or another due to mismatches. It'll be Cousins versus all of Portland's guards. Who comes out ahead?
Likely answer: none of us.
Sactown Royalty will chat about the Kings.
Your Jersey Contest form for this game. Don't forget the start is 3:00 in the afternoon.