Portland Trail Blazers try to stay hot against the Sacramento Kings


Today at 3:00 p.m. PST, the Portland Trail Blazers make a quick trip down Interstate 5 to visit the Sacramento Kings. The Trail Blazers have won two in a row and a win today would make it their longest winning streak since early January. The Kings continue their roller coaster season but have found energy under new Head Coach George Karl. This will be the Kings final home game before they head out on an eight game road trip. The game can be seen on CSNNW and heard on Rip City Radio 620 AM.

Friday’s win against the Oklahoma City Thunder showed how relentless the Trail Blazers can be. The Trail Blazers now have 14 wins on the season in which they have trailed by 10 points or more. Incredible statistic considering the starters play a bulk of the minutes for the team and surely face fatigue in late game situations. The win over the Thunder was pivotal as it provided another season series victory for the Trail Blazers and a full game swing over their division rivals.

Tonight the Trail Blazers are on the road, a place that hasn’t been very kind to them this season. They are 13-13 away from Moda Center including a loss to the Kings in the second game of the season. The team looks to have found their confidence again which will hopefully boost them down the stretch. The Trail Blazers will need to continue playing well as 10 of their next 14 games are on the road.

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The Kings are definitely a different team under Karl. I believe the hire was the perfect situation for the franchise as well as Karl. The Kings have a lot of pieces they can build around in the offseason, one of which is there All-Star center. Cousins has played well against the Trail Blazers this season averaging 19.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in two contests. However; the Kings will be without Cousins for the second consecutive game as he is sidelined with an ankle injury. Cousins has missed 13 games this season.

October 31, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots the basketball against Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson (34, bottom) during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With Cousins and Collison out, the Trail Blazers should have the upper hand in tonight’s game. They still have to deal with Gay who is averaging 33.0 points per game against the Trail Blazers this season. Batum will have his hands full but hopefully his stellar defensive performance against Russell Westbrook late in the game on Friday will carry over. Aldridge and Lillard should feast against the Kings tonight. The absence of Cousins will allow Aldridge to command the frontcourt while Collison’s absence will allow Lillard to dictate the backcourt.

This will be the third and final meeting between the teams who split the first two games. In order for the Trail Blazers to win, they must run the offense through Aldridge, and Lillard must penetrate like he did on Friday night. It will also be important for the Trail Blazers’ bench to stay hot. Arron Afflalo put in 18 points on Friday which is the most by any Trail Blazers reserve this season. A win provides the Trail Blazers with more confidence before they head to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Wednesday.

Next: Blazers pull away from Kings in Lillard Time