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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Sacramento Kings Preview

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Portland hits the road to start a home-and-home with the Kings

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers and Kings have a rematch Saturday night, after Sacramento’s 86-82 upset victory. We’re keeping this preview available for those who missed it.

Portland Trail Blazers (8-7) vs. Sacramento Kings (4-11)

Friday, November 17th - 7:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Al-Farouq Aminu (out)
Kings injuries: Vince Carter (day-to-day), Harry Giles (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Sactown Royalty

The Blazers are coming off a mixed-bag win against the Orlando Magic. On the plus side, Portland led for most of the game, shot 51.9 percent from outside and got a breakout performance from Shabazz Napier. On the down side, the first quarter had some of the ugliest Blazer basketball you’ve ever seen. Regardless, they got the job done and are now looking for their third win in a row when they face Sacramento on Friday.

Let’s not mince words: the Kings are a terrible basketball team right now. They’ve lost their last three games by an average of 30 points, with a 46-point loss to the equally struggling Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Sacramento has won their last two home games, including a 94-86 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 7th.

What to watch for

  • Balanced scoring from the Kings. Ex-Blazer Zach Randolph leads the team in average points per game at 13, with a host of Kings not far behind. In their last outing against Atlanta, every person in a Sacramento uniform scored. The problem was that no one scored very many. The Blazers will be happy if the Kings spreads around the scoring as long as they can keep any one contributor from having a big night.
  • Rebounds. The Blazers are one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA so far this year; the Kings are one of the worst. If Sacramento wants to win they’re going to need to hit the boards hard. If Portland takes care of business on the glass they should be in for a very good night.
  • Bombs away. The Kings give up the second most attempts from behind the arc. Portland is hitting 39.3 percent of the 3-pointers they launch, fourth best in the league. Expect the Blazers to have the green light from deep. If they convert anywhere near their average percentage it’s hard to see how the Kings will be able to keep up.

What they’re saying

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee quotes head Coach Joerger and sums up the current state of the Kings:

“We told our guys you’ve got to be ready to play because they’ll come at you, they compete and they play hard,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “Losing is one thing, but we have to do a much better job of competing.”

The Kings weren’t expected to be good, but they were expected to show some fight each night. That’s not happening. If the Kings are looking to use this season to build for the future, the foundation is off to a shoddy start in terms of effort as the lopsided losses pile up and the team’s desire is constantly questioned.

Ben Rohrbach of yahoo.com sees reason to hope for the future, but not yet:

The Sacramento Kings — the franchise that hasn’t won more than 33 games for a decade and hasn’t reached the playoffs since Corliss Williamson was still on the roster — are still not good at basketball.

There is hope, to be sure, that will change someday. The Kings feature a cache of recent first-round picks, from lightning-quick point guard De’Aaron Fox to sweet-shooting wing Buddy Hield and potential rim-runner and -protector Willie Cauley-Stein, all of whom may eventually lift this franchise from laughingstock to legitimacy. But not now, not after a 46-point lossTO THE ATLANTA HAWKS.

Greg at Sactown Royalty has some ideas on how to fix the Kings season:

The Sacramento Kings haven’t had the best start to the season. After an absolute blowout against the Atlanta Hawks, it’s obvious that the Kings need help. With that in mind, I have a few suggestions.

• Unplug it and plug it back in

• Leave it in a bowl of rice overnight

• Put some WD-40 on the hinges

Read the rest, it might put a smile on your face.