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Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings Preview

After a win against the Hornets, Portland faces the Kings in Sacramento on the second of a back-to-back.

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NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (30-25) at Sacramento Kings (17-36)

Friday, February 9th - 7:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Evan Turner (questionable)
Kings injuries: De’Aaron Fox (probable), Harry Giles (out), Skal Labissiere (out), Garrett Temple (doubtful), Iman Shumpert (doubtful)
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 Portland Trail Blazers take on the Sacramento Kings Friday in a game that will likely see the Kings without their newly acquired pieces. Thursday, Sacramento traded guards George Hill and Malachi Richardson for Joe Johnson (who will likely never suit up for the Kings as he seeks a buyout), Iman Shumpert and Bruno Caboclo.

The Kings have struggled this season as they still look to move past the DeMarcus Cousins era. While they have some nice young pieces in De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, Sacramento still simply lacks enough talent to compete most nights — ranking dead-last in defensive rating and 28th in offensive rating. Not a promising combination.

What to Watch For

Isolation and spot ups. The Kings, lacking offensive cohesion, spend a lot of time playing isolation basketball or trying to find spot-up shooters — a full 25 percent of their plays. The problem for Sacramento is, while they are relatively effective in isolation, everyone on their roster not named Buddy Hield or Zach Randolph struggles to nail their spot-up jumpers.

The Blazers feasting in the pick and roll. The Blazers run the pick and roll to death, and are the second-most efficient team in the NBA in terms of scoring from the ball handler in this scenario. Defensively, the Kings rank 29th against the P&R ball handler. Look for a big night from Lillard, McCollum, or both.

Veterans still getting playing time. Despite their overall youth, the Kings have a couple old-timers still playing a significant role. Randolph, 36, is still putting in nearly 15 points per game on 25 minutes a night and doing the same things he’s always done: using his craftiness and size to rebound at a solid rate and get key buckets. Vince Carter, 41, is a bit less effective at this point, but is still good for 16 minutes a game.

What They’re Saying

Ailene Voisin from the Sacramento Bee breaks down the Kings’ deadline moves:

The offseason signing of Hill looked good at the time, his weighty contract ($19 million next year) and presence of two rookie point guards notwithstanding. He was acquired to stabilize the backcourt and mentor De’Aaron Fox, Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic while being the productive, versatile player he has been throughout his career. But there is theory, then there is reality. Between injuries, coach Dave Joerger’s lineup experiments and a desire to implement a faster-paced offense, the veteran never found a niche.

Johnson is expected to pursue a buyout, which means this is really a Hill-for-Shumpert swap that trims about $8 million off the books for next season, with a second-round pick as a sweetener.

Jason Jones talks about how Jakarr Sampson brings life to a lethargic Kings team:

JaKarr Sampson brings what the Kings need.

He plays with energy, hustle and desire when he plays – 30 minutes or 30 seconds, it doesn’t matter.

But Sampson is on a two-way contract, meaning he has to go back to the G League and rejoin the Reno Bighorns.

“I think he has to go to Reno (Tuesday) morning,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “I think I might postpone his trip.”

As the Kings continue to work toward what they hope becomes a winning culture, they need to have players like Sampson around. He is a reminder that hustle and hard work can be considered talents.

“He’s not always up here, but when he’s up here he doesn’t worry about if he’s playing or not,” Kings guard Garrett Temple said. “He just brings that tremendous energy every time he steps on the court and young guys need to see that and understand. They’ve got people that grind and play hard when they come up here so don’t take it for granted that you’re in the NBA, because you’ve got guys like JaKarr on two-way contracts who are grinding.”