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Trail Blazers Back Home To Face Kings

12/08/12
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Trail Blazers (8-11) are finally home again. It's been over two weeks since they've taken the floor of the Rose Garden and they will finally do so again on Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings (6-12). The game will tip off at 7PM and will be shown on KGW. It can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

        
    •    The Trail Blazers can be comfortable for a little while, at least. After a rigorous seven games in twelve days on the road, the Trail Blazers schedule becomes a little bit easier in the second and third week of December. The Trail Blazers are home for over two weeks and only play six times in that span before they travel to face the Kings in Sacramento. Saturday's game against Sacramento is the second meeting between the two teams and the first of three meetings they will have this month. The Trail Blazers defeated the Kings in their previous meeting in Sacramento by 17 but the Kings were without DeMarcus Cousins, who was serving a two game suspension. The Kings have won two straight games, both at home, against the Magic and Raptors.
        
    •    As far as things to truly learn about the Kings in the previous meeting, a blow out doesn't offer much. Damian Lillard was on fire from the start and LaMarcus Aldridge was gutting out a wrist injury. However, as stated before, they were without their best player, Cousins. Cousins' numbers through 15 games this season (16.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 0.6 blocks) are not quite as impressive as last year's (18.1 points, 11 rebounds, 1.2 blocks) but they are still very good. Cousins will be a challenge for all of the Trail Blazers big men to guard and Jason Thompson presents a seven footer with a good midrange game as well. Stopping Cousins from getting going will be a tough task, but an important one. The Kings also have a group of talented perimeter scorers like Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans (who missed last night's game against the Magic with a sore knee), John Salmons, Aaron Brooks who has usurped playing time from one of last year's rookie surprises, Isaiah Thomas (Thomas played more last night, scoring 17 points in 28 minutes off the bench). Jimmer Fredette has improved greatly this season from an efficiency standpoint. Fredette is shooting over 45% from the field and 42.3% from three-point range but with the Kings loaded with backcourt options, finding enough time for him is a tough task for Keith Smart as he only averages 10 minutes a game. Jimmer Fredette is also the only Kings player with a PER (player efficiency rating) over 20.
        
    •    Although the Kings have talented offensive players, they are in the bottom five in the league in offensive in efficiency and they rank 23rd defensively. The Trail Blazers have been very good shooting the three this season but their weapon of choice against the Kings should be Damian Lillard in the pick and roll. The Kings are the worst in the NBA in defending the pick and roll according to Synergy Sports. The Trail Blazers have a very good shooting team but the Kings do a decent job defending spot up shooters, so getting their big men out to defend the pick and roll against Portland seems like it should be the way to go. The Trail Blazers are the fifth best team in points per possession on pick and roll plays finished by the ball handler. Lillard, Matthews and Batum have all put up ver good numbers when running the pick and roll. Defensively, the Trail Blazers have to close out on Sacramento shooters. According to Synergy Sports, the Kings' most successful type of offensive play has been spot-up shots. Marcus Thornton and John Salmons in particular have been very efficient.

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