Game Preview: Kings go back at it in Portland on Friday night

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

Kings have no time to rest as it’s time to finish a back-to-back

The NBA schedule can be a very cruel mistress when comes to needing to respond to a devastating loss like the Kings had at the hands of the upstart LA Lakers on Thursday night in Sacramento. In this case, they have to head out on the road to Portland to finish a back-to-back schedule with Trail Blazers (5-4).

Percentages on back-to-backs aren’t good

  • About 32-percent of the back-to-back games in the NBA are home/road sets like the Kings have with the Lakers last night in Sacramento and the Trail Blazers in Portland tonight.
  • The average winning percentages for the visiting team in the second game on the road is 37.3-percent. The visiting team is usually given about a 40-percent chance of winning on the road in the NBA, so the chances of winning are lower. Of course, there are many variables that play into those figures.
  • FiveThirtyEight.com (I use them because they have no gambling establishment interest to please) projects the Kings have only an 18-percent chance of pulling off a win tonight over the Blazers. The fact that it is the back end of a back-to-back set on the road versus a team that has a 74-percent chance of making the playoffs  has a lot do with the prediction

Blazers are coming off a loss

Portland lost to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night 111-80. LAC led by 20 after the first quarter and led by as many as 48 points in the second half. Damian Lillard was held to eight points shooting just 1-for-10 and hitting no 3-pointers in the game. If Lillard has a bad game, the Blazers are going to have a bad game.

This is a Tier 3 team visiting a Tier 2 team

Sacramento is a Tier 3 team – they will not make the playoffs and will be in the 2017 Draft Lottery. The Trail Blazers are a Tier 2 team – there is a high probability they will make the playoffs and may possibly go to the second round.

Who to watch in tonight’s game

For the Kings, you have to focus on DeMarcus Cousins. The big man scored no points in the third quarter of last night’s game with the Lakers and that is when the contest got away from the Kings. Sacramento needs Cousins to come out energized and ready to be productive in all four quarters if they are to have any chance against the Blazers.

It is really a one-man watch for Portland. Damian Lillard needs to comeback and take charge in this game versus the Kings. He averages 30 points per game. The Blazers must have that scoring production from their star guard or it could be a long night.

For entertainment purposes only

The prognosticators have made the Trail Blazers the favorites in this game minus 6.5 to 9 points (FiveThirtyEight.com calls the -9 & remember they are not tied to a book). The over/under ranges from 208 to 208.5. The Kings need that number to be at 196 to 200 to really be competitive in this game.

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