The Blazers and Kings face off yet again tonight, their fourth game in the first two months of the season. Portland is 1-2, having lost both of the last two contests (in Portland on December 8th and Sunday night in Sacramento). Coming off of Christmas I'm not in much of a mood for a three-hour preview process, nor are you likely to need one. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised locally on CSNNW. If the Blazers play with energy and execution they should be able to beat the Kings but if their concentration or effort drifts, they'll lose a near-unimaginable third game to Sacramento. At that point one would have to (half-jokingly) say that the Kings have Portland's number. Since the Blazers would account for 3 of Sacramento's 10 wins at that point, it'd be a sorry state of affairs. Let's hope it doesn't happen.
More than anything tonight I'll be watching the newly-reinstated DeMarcus Cousins (update: see below). The Kings didn't need him in their Sunday night victory. How will he respond to them and they to him? Will the verve of the last game crumble for them? The guy could well be a Blazer-killer, at least against this incarnation of the team. Will that come to pass? And as we talked about briefly in the Christmas Day Mailbag, might he be a player the Blazers covet if Sacramento gets sick of him? (Understanding that at his price-to-talent ratio, they'd have to be really sick of him to consider a trade, or at least one that wouldn't cripple the Blazers.) I'll be watching the game, but I'll be keeping an eye on #15 in blue. He's easily the most fascinating aspect of this matchup at this point.
What will you be watching and what will you hope to see? Share below and continue to weigh in on Cousins if you like.
Note: Mike Tokito of The Oregonian reports that Blazers guard Wesley Matthews likely will not play due to his left hip flexor strain.
Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports on Twitter that Cousins (coach's decision) and Kings guard Tyreke Evans (left knee) did not travel with the team to Portland.
Sactown Royalty will no doubt be offended that we even brought up the Cousins trade topic. Or they'll pretend to be offended to drive up the price. You decide.
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Update: As Ben has reported, Cousins did not travel with the Kings. There goes my night.