The Sacramento Kings will host the Portland Trail Blazers tonight (7 PM Pacific, Comcast SportsNet). The Kings have actually won three of their last four games at ARCO Arena, but it's been a while, with the team having just gotten back from a six-game Eastern road trip. Sacramento went 1-5 on said jaunt.
The Blazers are battered and bruised and .. still doing alright, actually. The latest loss, to Marcus Camby, should be particularly painful as the team's frontcourt depth is awful. Portland has star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, just-returning-from-his-own-injury workman Joel Przybilla, tweener Dante Cunningham and, uh, Sean Marks. Needless to say, when Przybilla has to sit, the Blazers will be in dire straits up front. When Aldridge sits? Tune in, because good things will probably happen for the Kings.
But Portland has won two straight, albeit with Camby and albeit against the Wolves and Nets. I just explained why that first "albeit" is so important; the second one deserve some attention too, because the Wolves and Nets are awful. The Kings are awful, but it's not an exclusive club. If the Blazers were beating the Celtics and Spurs, you'd feel like the Kings had little chance. But it's just the Nets and Wolves. Eh. We got a chance.
Vegas doesn't necessarily, with the Kings two-point 'dogs. Those frontcourt matchups -- holding Aldridge to a human effort and preventing Przybilla or Cunningham from going off while getting some good totals for two of DeMarcus Cousins, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson -- will define the game, but the Andre Miller-Wes Matthews-Nicolas Batum gauntlet can rewrite it, if the Kings aren't careful. Beno Udrih was impossibly hot during the road trip. Can it last? Unless Tyreke Evans gets loose, the Kings will need a strong effort from Beno. It's a perilous pillar to lean on game after game, but here we are.
Please check out HighTops' sweet scouting report. Game threads at 7 and 8:30.