Portland Trail Blazers (10-8) vs Sacramento Kings (6-12)
The Portland Trail Blazers travel to Sacramento to take on the Kings. The Blazers are coming off of four straight wins at home and are looking to pick up just their second road win. The Kings are hoping to end a four game losing streak before heading on the road again.
Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is now questionable with an upper-respiratory illness.
Teams says Anfernee Simon (upper-respiratory illness) is now questionable for tonight's game in Sacramento.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) November 25, 2021
What To Watch For
- Harrison Barnes. Barnes has enjoyed a career year currently averaging career highs in points and rebounds while shooting 40% from three. His season high of 36 came against the Blazers on both teams’ opening nights on his way to a blazing start to the season. He has since cooled off slightly but could go off on any given night. Whether Barnes has the Blazers’ number this season or just had the best opening night he could’ve hoped for remains to be seen.
- Is Damian Lillard back? Lillard is hot off a Western Conference player of the week title and seems to be on the comeback after a very rough start to the season. He has been averaging 26.3 points per game over his last 8 contests and seems to be on the right track. It appears that he has his confidence back and is finding his groove again. If he can continue on this trajectory, another All-Star appearance seems more than likely.
- Can the Blazers win on the road? The Blazers have shown that they are almost unable to win on the road this season. 1-7 is about as bad of a start as they could have hoped for. However, the Kings have been floundering as of late, just 2-8 in their last ten games. If there was ever a team for the Blazers to turn things around against, it will hopefully be against the Kings.
What Others Are Saying
Marina Drab of Sactown Royalty talks about the differences between Alvin Gentry’s first game at the helm and Luke Walton’s tenure.
Gentry returned to the season’s initial starting lineup featuring De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes, Moe Harkless and Richaun Holmes.
One of the biggest changes in Gentry’s first appearance head of the snake was pace. It seemed like every possession Sacramento was whipping back up the floor, something that should suit Fox and his style of play. Gentry also introduced the three-guard lineup early in the game, which Luke Walton said last week the team would need to ‘earn’. He was more privy to making in-game adjustments in four frames than Walton seemed to in two seasons.
Jonathan Tjarks from The Ringer talked about the early season struggles of De’Aaron Fox.
It would be one thing if just his per-game averages were down. That should be expected, given that Fox is sharing the ball more. According to NBA Advanced Stats, he has gone from no. 7 in the NBA in touches per game and no. 8 in average time of possession with the ball last season to no. 14 in both categories. He’s gone from having as much responsibility as Ja Morant to a role closer to that of Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey.
Fox’s problem goes beyond playing with two other young point guards. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Sacramento. Harrison Barnes is having a career season, Richaun Holmes has become one of the better offensive centers in the NBA, and Buddy Hield has never been shy about getting up shots. The Kings have a balanced offense with five players averaging at least 12 points per game. Having that many players who can get their own shot can be too much of a good thing. Not only do their scorers have to take turns on offense, they can’t make up the difference on defense. Barnes is the only one of the five with above-average size for his position.