Trail Blazers vs Kings Tuesday, 11/13/12 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Finish Back-To-Back In Sacramento

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


    The Portland Trail Blazers (2-5) head to Sacramento to face the Kings (2-5) on the second night of a back-to-back. Having lost their last four, the Trail Blazers will look to turn things around before taking a two-day break. The game tips off at 7 PM in Sacramento. It will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

    •    Slow starts have become a problem. In their previous four losses, the Trail Blazers have had to come back from a deficit in the fourth quarter. It seems that other teams are taking advantage of that and it has put the Trail Blazers in a tough position. Portland has flashed the energy and play that is needed to win games. Despite having won two games, Portland has yet to play a complete game on both ends.  Last night against Atlanta, they finally gave themselves a shot to win with their defense but their shots that they would normally hit just didn’t go down.

    •    Nicolas Batum continues to be on a tear. Last night he had at least 19 points for the third straight game. Batum has only had one such stretch in his career when it happened in March of 2011.

    •    JJ Hickson continues to give the Trail Blazers extra effort on the glass. Hickson comes into tonight’s game fourth in the NBA in rebounds (11.7) and first in the league in total rebound percentage. He says he has embraced his new role as the team’s “energy guy” and has shown that through his relentless hustle on the glass.  After getting offensive rebounds there are times Hickson is too quick to put up after grabbing the rebound.  His shooting percentage (47.1)  is seven points lower than it was in his 19 games with Portland last year.  Sacramento will likely be without their best rebounder, DeMarcus Cousins, who will be serving the second game of a two game suspension. However, the NBA Players Association is appealing the second game of the suspension and he could end up taking the court.

    •    Aldridge the playmaker? LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 7.5 assists in Portland’s past two games. Although last night he had a rough night scoring-wise, he was making plays for others. He tried to will the Trail Blazers to victor down the stretch but just missed some shots he would normally make and uncharacteristically missed a pair of free throws.

    •    In their preseason meeting, the Kings 55% and buried the Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers have only held opponents under 50% shooting twice this season and have yet to string together two games like that. The Kings come into the game with the league’s worst effective field goal percentage at 43.1%.  Last year they scored a lot of points and poor defense was their calling card. So far this year, the Kings have improved defensively but their offense has been rough. The Kings are 20th in defensive efficiency through seven games and are holding teams to a top-five eFG% of 45.6%. The Kings are also a top-ten team when it comes to forcing turnovers. What appears to be holding them back defensively is their inability to grab defensive boards as they are 28th in the league in defensive rebound percentage.

    •    Damian Lillard is coming off his worst game as a pro so far. He had some moments where he thought he was getting too deep against the defense and missed shots that he would normally make. He also had a rough go trying to make plays as he only had two assists, his lowest total of the season. He also had four turnovers. The Hawks are a very opportunistic defense but so are the Kings Lillard will face tonight. The Kings are second in the league in steals and ninth in the league in turnover percentage.

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