(563) Portland vs. Sacramento (564) 10:00 PM | Wed, Jan 13 2021
Sport: NBA | Star Rating: 10.0 Evaluation: Loss (-1090) - Final Score SAC 126 at POR 132
|4.5 SAC (-109) @ Draftkings|
My 10* Game of the Week on the Sac Kings at 10:05 ET.
The Portland Trail Blazers made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago but last year needed a strong run 'in the bubble' to sneak into the postseason. Led by 'Bubble' MVP Lillard, the Blazers were a 'sexy' pick to upset the Lakers in the first round but after a 100-93 upset in Game 1, Portland lost FOUR in a row. The Blazers have won THREE straight and are 6-4 as they welcome the Sacramento Kings to Moda Center (I miss the Rose Garden) on Wednesday. Luke Walton begins his second season with the Kings, having gone 31-41 in last year's pandemic-shortened season. Walton's in good company, as the Kings opened this season on a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons and non-playoff appearances. Just a thought. Think Sacramento fans feel that it may have been a mistake to fire Rick Adelman after EIGHT straight winning and playoff seasons because he was never able to deliver an NBA championship? Probably a rhetorical question, right?
5-6 Sacramento's starting-five are all averaging in double digits, led by the Kings' excellent guard duo. PG Fox (18.3 & 5.4 APG) and Hield (14.7 & 4.2) lead the way, while three Sacramento frontcourt players are producing as well. The Kings don't have a true center, as that frontcourt trio includes 6-8 SF Barnes (17.9 & 6.9) plus 6-8 PF Holmes (13.2 & 7.7) and 6-11 PF Bagley (12.7 & 8.0). Rookie PG Haliburton ((12,1 & 5.3 APG) from Iowa St has stepped right in and looks like he'll be a quality NBA player. More depth is provided by four players chipping in between 6.4 and 7.8 PPG.
Speaking of backcourts, Portland believes it owns the NBA's best in Lillard and McCollum. McCollum is off to a great start, leading Portland in scoring (28.1 PPG), while adding 4.1 RPG and 5.0 APG. Lillard's numbers are slightly down (26.1-4.9-6.4) but the fact that one can say that with a straight face, proves what type of player he is. Portland expected to be healthier this season plus acquired Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. to shore up defense. Neither Covington (6.6 & 6.0) nor Jones (6.4 & 3.5) have been as good as hoped for, with both players starting all games. The problem has been no player is even HALF as much as either McCollum or Lillard. Carmelo Anthony (13.0) has added a scoring 'punch' off the bench, as have backup center Kanter (11.2 & 9.3) and guard Trent (10.8). Starting center Nurkic (9.5 & 7.2) has underperformed and is currently listed at day-to-day (quad) while PF Collins (ankle) has yet to play a game this season.
The Blazers routed the Kings 125-99 this past Saturday and that memory is still fresh in the Kings' memory. Sacramento enters the rematch with a bit of momentum, after producing a convincing 127-122 home win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. Portland recovered from a 17-point deficit and still trailed by 14 with 9 1/2-minutes remaining in the game but 'escaped' with a 112-11 home win over Toronto (NBA-worst record of 2-8 ) on Monday. no comeback here, as the Kings get some quick 'revenge.'
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