Preview: Kings at Blazers, Preseason Game 1

OMG u guys, the preseason has arrived. And it seems like just yesterday the 2008-09 Kings were losing by an average of eight points per game!

Full preview after the jump.

THE OPPONENT

The Kings play at Portland, the defending co-champion of the Northwest Division and a team expected to challenge for Western Conference supremacy. The Blazers have some handsome players, but mostly not-handsome players. The not-handsome players are pretty talented, though.

A pseudo-haiku about the Portland Trail Blazers:

Rip City, lit again.
That's not a Jailblazers joke.
It's a "WATCH OUT FOR THAT BURNING METEORITE YOU GOD-FORSAKEN WOODSY HIPPIES!" joke.

If you are interested in the Blazers, you should check out the always tremendous Blazersedge, written by the elegant Dave Deckard and the suave Ben Golliver.

KEY BATTLE

If wins and losses mattered now, Kevin Martin vs. Brandon Roy would be the Key Battle. Win and losses do not matter now. Therefore, I dub Tyreke Evans vs. Steve Blake to be the Key Battle. Blake is a proud, strong man who could choke out 76.7% of the league's starting centers in an MMA fight.* Evans is a Wildebeest in sneakers. If you know anything about Wildebeest, you know that they can "inflict considerable injury to even a lion." (Thanks, Wikipedia! You're like Encyclopedia Britannica, except inaccurate and not handsome.) War Machine vs. Wildebeest! I'm a-scared.

INTERESTING SIDESHOW

Holy crap you guys, I think I cracked The Westphal Code! He's bringing Spencer Hawes off the bench because ... Nate McMillan is bringing Greg Oden off the bench! Westie knows that McMillan and Oden were big Obama supporters last fall. Westphal and Hawes, of course, are members of the Club for Growth. This is the basketball version of a health care reform town hall! (In fact, this very preseason match-up might be the only reason Paul Westphal got back into coaching.) If at any point Hawes calls Oden a socialist, you'll know it's on.

WILD GUESS OF THE EVENING

Jon Brockman will be responsible for 14 whistles, one way or another. (Only one will come from a cat-calling Rose Garden lad who appreciates the male body in all its forms. Including Jon Brockman's.)

REAL TALK

Obviously, as this game will serve as the first opportunity to experience (whether through Gary Gerould, or choppy stream, or box score, or play-by-play) the Tyreke Evans-Kevin Martin pairing, it's pretty damn exciting. No preseason game can define anyone, anywhere. But given the beating this team and fan base took last season, a nice start -- even if it don't count -- could mean something. A shining night of limited work for Evans and Martin together would be a blessing I'll take with a smile.

DETAILS

If you lived on the planet Neptune, you would have just as good a shot as any Sacramento or Portland resident of watching this game. (Again: neither the Kings or Blazers are broadcasting this game, so there will be absolutely no illicit feeds or satellite options. None.) Regardless, it begins at 7 PM Pacific. KHTK 1140 AM will have the radio broadcast. The Sactown Royalty Official Open Game Thread will open up on the front page at precisely 7 PM.

 

* As to Steve Blake vs. Starting NBA Centers in MMA, I think that Blake would have trouble choking out Dwight Howard (for obvious reasons), Shaquille O'Neal (how can you choke out someone who has no neck?), Brendan Haywood (why don't you ask Etan Thomas what's up!), Joel Przybilla (obvious, he's a badass), Tim Duncan (who will casually slip out of any grapple move), Chris Kaman (who would be disqualified before Blake got a hold locked for trying to gnaw on Blake's arm ... Kaman resembles a flesh-eating zombie, you see???) and Brook Lopez (who would immediately counter with a Berserker Barrage followed with a Tornado Claw and finished off, of course, with a Weapon X. Snickety snick!).

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