Trail Blazers @ Kings Preview: Game 77
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/03/2010 2:02 PM

    After getting destroyed by Denver, Portland (46-30) looks to rebound against a Sacramento (24-52) team who has lost six straight. The Trail Blazers have taken the first three games this year against the Kings, including a 110-94 thrashing back on March 12th. With Portland getting no help from opposing teams playing the Spurs or Thunder lately, there is no time for letdowns and bad losses. Sacramento would much rather be planning their summer vacation than taking the court tonight, so if Portland comes out and shuts down any notion about the Kings playing spoiler tonight, they will fold mid-way through the 2nd period. It was apparent on Thursday night there was a lack of focus and sense of urgency. If the Trail Blazers come out in the same manner an end up dropping this game, they should prepare to get their ticket punched to Los Angeles, because a first round date with the Lakers would be imminent.

    Since the All-Star Break, Portland is a formidable 8-4 away from the friendly confines of the Rose Garden. In the eight wins, only once did Portland score 100 points and come away unscathed, March 28th in OKC. On the other hand, during the Trail Blazers four road losses, the last two have seen Portland fail to rev up their offensive engines all the way up to 100 points. Portland is a staggering 27-8, a .771 winning percentage, when they reach the century mark, while Sacramento is 10-40 when allowing the opposition to reach the 100 point barrier. Can Portland win a ugly, grin-it-out game? Of course, but when I see the Blazers playing their best ball, they are pushing tempo, getting easy buckets on the break, attacking the basket, and seeing the entire team get involved on the offensive end. A win is a win, but I would be a little worried if we can't score 100 with ease against a bottom feeding Kings team. Bottom line, score 100 tonight and all will be well in the Rose city.

    As the leader, it is time for Brandon Roy to simply take over the rest of the regular season, and it starts tonight! To hear him say there was no urgency last Thursday when it was not only a rivalry game but with playoff implications on the line, really is a red flag in my mind. I realize the season is an 82 game grind, but games like tonight or Wednesday against the Clippers are the ones to be sluggish in, not against an inner divisional foe. By taking over, it doesn't mean 30, 7, and 7 each night, rather shown in his body language. It seems like when teams throw different defenses strictly designed to stop him, he gets passive and it plays right into the defense's hands. Roy needs to take an aggressive approach and force the issue a little bit, even if it means a turnover here or there. Getting into the teeth of the defense and doing what he does best, make plays should be his M.O. tonight. Roy's biggest asset is his play-making ability and when he gets relegated to standing around, it thwarts our offensive flow and at times, the team will follow suit. As much as I am a Dre Miller fan, he shouldn't be the one leading the charge over the past month; it must be Roy if this team wants to have any aspirations of getting out of the first round.

    Tonight, the Trail Blazers start a new winning streak. Maybe last year fans could worry a bit after a tough, devastating loss followed up by a lottery-bound team, but since Andre has became the full-time starter and the acquisition of Camby, the guys haven't dropped a game they shouldn't have. The feeling of falling back into 8th will refocus the troops and it will be a cohesive team effort in Sac-Town this evening. Batum will bounce back after a sub-par performance and hit those jump shots and finish at the rim, Camby and LA will do yeoman's work on the Kings bigs, and the backcourt of Dre and Brandon will lead the way and show the young Evans a thing or two. One player Portland does need to watch out for is Beno Udrih, who put up season-high numbers of 14.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 17 games during March. In the end, the Trail Blazers will use an early 2nd quarter run to put away the Kings for good.

    Game 77 Prediction: Trail Blazers 107 Kings 94
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