Found December 08, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Home again The Portland Trail Blazers have been away from the Rose Garden the past seven games, so a six-game stretch at home is a welcomed part of their schedule. Matchup: Portland (8-11) vs. Sacramento Kings (6-12) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 7:00 PM PT Date: Saturday, December 8, 2012 The Trail Blazers will have the crowd behind them for the first time in weeks, but they’ll have to finish the game with a win if they want the support to keep flowing their direction. Game Notes/How They Match Up The Trail Blazers are returning to the Rose Garden for the first time since Nov. 23. The Blazers and the Kings have already played once this season, and that matchup belonged to Portland from start to finish. The first time these two faced off, the Blazers won the contest 103-86; however, Sacramento was without their man in the middle, DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is the kind of player who often times has an all-or-nothing kind of game. Either his head is in it or it’s not, and if it is, you have reason to worry. The problem for Portland is that they have nobody in the middle who can stop him if his game is on. J.J. Hickson has done a miraculous job of challenging bigs on the boards this year, but Cousins will give him more of a physical challenge than he’s faced all season. The Blazers must find somebody who can make Cousins work for his shots. Either that, or hope that his head simply isn’t in it Saturday night. What to Watch: Portland The Trail Blazers are coming off a lengthy road trip, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they react to playing at home for the first time since Nov. 23. The old adage says: the first game back home is really the final game of a long road trip. Although it’s not an exact science, there’s some truth to the fact that teams let up a little too much once they return home. Portland is a young team, and it’s easy to see them falling into that trap. The team’s leaders need to take over in this one. While there’s no doubt that Damian Lillard is a leader on this team, the veterans need to keep him and the rest of the youngsters in check. If they get too comfortable in the familiar confines of the Rose Garden walls, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews need to be the ones to spark the fire. What to Watch: Sacramento When the Blazers faced the Kings earlier in the year, Sacramento completed just nine percent of their three-point attempts. In case you’re wondering, that’s down-right awful. The Kings aren’t a great shooting team from deep range, but nobody is bad enough to shoot nine percent on a regular basis. Jimmer Fredette is the most obvious threat from long distance, but they also have good shooters in Fransisco Garcia and former Oregon Duck Aaron Brooks. Even Marcus Thornton can get in on the game when he’s on a scoring roll. Hickson will be faced with a physical challenge in DeMarcus Cousins. Photo : Bruce Ely/Oregonian The scouting report isn’t going to say “defend the three” against this team, but considering how poorly they shot the ball last time, you have to assume they can only get better. If you’re Portland, don’t hone in on stopping the three, but at the same time, understand that the good looks you give them only increases their chance of playing better than last time. Key Matchup Having already hit on it, the key matchup in this contest is going to be the battle down low between DeMarcus Cousins and J.J. Hickson. These two didn’t face off last time because of Cousins’ suspension. On offense, Hickson needs to be able to spread the floor. His low-post game is lacking, and he doesn’t have the physical prowess to draw fouls against the Kings’ big man, so hitting his jumper is going to be a big part of the gameplan. Defensively, Hickson simply needs to stand his ground. He’s done a great job this year of pulling down rebounds and making life difficult for opposing centers, and that’s exactly what he’ll need to do this time around. The matchup between Tyreke Evans and Wesley Matthews will be another one to keep an eye on, but the two of them have a tendency to disappear, so you never know which side we’ll see from the two shooting guards. Injury Report Portland: DAY-TO-DAY—Nicolas Batum, Joel Freeland Sacramento: DAY-TO-DAY—Tyreke Evans Prediction It’s true that the first game back from a long road trip can be the most difficult game of the season, but with the Kings coming to town, Portland should look to take advantage of an inferior opponent Saturday night. Blazers 101 – Sacramento 92 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Portland Trail Blazers: Five early question marks

Can Blazers right ship? At 8-11 on the season—and mired in inconsistent play—the Trail Blazers have plenty of question marks on their early season. If they can rebound, and answers any of them, is yet to be seen. Can Damian Lillard keep up the pace? In 19 games this season Damian Lillard is averaging 19.3 points, 6.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Rookies just...

Blazers assign 2 to D-league

The Trail Blazers have assigned rookies Will Barton and Victor Claver to Portland's development league affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. Barton has played in 16 games for the Blazers this season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game. The guard was the 40th pick in the June draft out of Memphis. Claver, a 6-foot-10 forward from Spain, was selected by the...

Kings win at Portland for third in a row

PORTLAND -- Would you believe three in a row for Sacramento? The Kings broke open a tight game early in the third quarter and never looked back en route to a 99-80 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at the Rose Garden. DeMarcus Cousins collected 19 points and 12 rebounds and John Salmons contributed season highs in points (19) and assists (11) for the Kings...

Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart is a village idiot for not playing Jimmer Fredette

Admitting that Jimmer Fredette has taken “a gigantic leap,” Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart may stop looking like a certified village idiot and finally begin playing the underused shooting guard. Fredette, who was taken out of Brigham Young University … Continue reading →

Could Cousins' struggles be his ticket out of Sacramento?

This is certainly not the year three that DeMarcus Cousins had in mind going into the season. His scoring and rebounding numbers are down from last year and he just looks miserable out there. Of course, that could also be because he plays for the 5-12 Sacramento Kings. It’s one of those situations where you wonder if a talented player would thrive in a different situation. If...

Kings-Trail Blazers Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers are already eager to be back at home after a disappointing trip. Facing a winless road opponent is even more ideal. The Trail Blazers begin a six-game homestand Saturday night when they try to drop the Sacramento Kings to 0-7 on the road. Portland (8-11) went 2-5 on a trip that ended with Wednesday's 99-92 loss to Indiana. Rookie Damian Lillard led...

Raptors-Trail Blazers Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers' lack of depth has been one of their major downfalls this season, which doesn't bode well with Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews nursing injuries. There's a possibility neither will play Monday night as Portland seeks an eighth straight victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors, who have lost an NBA-high 13 road games. After a 2-5 road trip...

Kings 99, Trail Blazers 80

DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds, John Salmons added 19 points and 11 assists, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 99-80 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Aaron Brooks had 14 points for the Kings, who have won three in a row for the first time this season. Francisco Garcia and Jason Thompson added 12 each. All...

Kings 91, Magic 82

DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and reserve guard Isaiah Thomas also scored 17 to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Orlando Magic 91-82 on Friday night. After squandering an 11-point lead in the third quarter, the Kings regrouped in the fourth behind the strong play of their backups. Led by Thomas, who scored 11 points in the period, reserves played for much of...

Magic succumb to Kings' bench in loss

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and reserve guard Isaiah Thomas also scored 17 to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Orlando Magic 91-82 on Friday night. After squandering an 11-point lead in the third quarter, the Kings regrouped in the fourth behind the strong play of their backups. Led by Thomas, who scored 11 points in the period, reserves...

Isaiah Thomas’ Circus Layup (Video)

Isaiah Thomas gets acrobatic during the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic Friday night, when — somehow, someway — he gets this nifty spinning shot to fall. The Kings would defeat the Magic 82-91.The post Isaiah Thomas’ Circus Layup (Video) appeared first on The NBA Mistress.

Smart finds right combination as Kings shoot past Magic

SACRAMENTO -- Kings coach Keith Smart found out 30 minutes before Friday night's game against the Orlando Magic that swingman Tyreke Evans left knee would keep him out of the contest. So Smart began the game with veteran Francisco Garcia playing for Evans and never stopped making moves until he found the right combination. Most of the fourth quarter that combination consisted...

Kings-Mavericks Preview

The Sacramento Kings managed to keep their momentum going when they headed out on the road, but history doesn't appear to be on their side as they try for a fourth consecutive victory. To keep their win streak going, the Kings will have to snap a lengthy skid in Dallas on Monday night and deny the Mavericks a season high-tying third straight victory. Sacramento (7-12) became...

Wesley Matthews Heard A Pop In Hip Flexor

Wesley Matthews, who has never missed an NBA game in his four years, said he heard his left hip flexor pop during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 99-80 home loss to Sacramento. That came after the same hip was hobbled a quarter earlier when John Salmons kneed him. The Blazers next play Monday at home against Toronto. Matthews said he would get electric stimulation throughout the...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.