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Kings vs Trail Blazers Preview: The March Towards the Season Continues

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In a rare preseason back-to-back, the Kings take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Sacramento.

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sunday night’s game against the Lakers was ugly. Not by NBA game standards, or preseason standards, but by Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution standards. The highlight reel from this game would show De’Aaron Fox scooting in a contested dunk, Z-Bo hoisting a couple threes to keep Sacramento breathing in the fourth, and the forgiving sound of the final buzzer. Even the joy from knowing Lonzo Ball flaked out yet again was lost after his sparring partner, our fantastic Mr. Fox was sidelined with a back injury. Such is life for a team in the midst of a rebuild as heavy as this one, and we can be sure there will be more nights to come where we see a score in the 50’s heading into the fourth quarter.

Monday night is a whole new ballgame and thankfully back in the loving embrace of a Sacramento crowd. With Portland coming into this season looking to wiggle their way into a lower playoff seed, the Kings should expect no mercy; the development of their young guys is going to come secondary to setting the offense for their core rotation. Here’s to short term memory loss for the Kings players, and long term memory loss for their fans if we have an entire season of games like last night. Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Monday, October 9th, 2017; 7:00 pm PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

Television: NBCSA, NBATV

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

Questions of the Game

How Do They Bounce Back? As I said above the fold, the game on Sunday night against the Lakers was ugly. 31% from the field as a team. Everyone was so bad that this might work to the advantage of recovering any sort of pride players might have lost in the maelstrom of mediocrity that the Kings conjured up in Vegas. Whether they toss this game off as a fluke, or a learning moment or whatever; Monday night is going to be interesting to see who has their head down, and who comes in with a renewed sense of focus. Will Skal Labissiere come out aggressive and ready to score? Can Willie Cauley-Stein settle himself, play defense and rebound to a level that warrants his offensive touches? Will De’Aaron Fox even be able to redeem his 1-6 shooting night after a back injury took him out of the second half of the Lakers game?

Matchup of the Game

Zach Randolph vs. the Kings: There were way too many times early in the game last night where Zach Randolph was relied on for late in the shot clock offense, and the results were predictably terrible. Z-Bo, a career 25.4% three point shooter, has spent a lot more time out on the perimeter than any of us has expected and while he’s hit at least a three in every game he’s played in, the frequency in which he’s needed to take them is, well, less than conducive for viewable basketball. Desperation heaves are a part of any game, but his teammate’s finding him for no fewer than four last night is a testament to how and out of sync Sacramento King’s offense can be. Obviously this sorts itself out over time, but I’m really hoping to see Dave Joerger put Randolph in positions of success; mid-range and post touches, with a sprinkle of that corner three action when he’s wide open.

Prediction: CJ McCollum will go for 50 in the first half to continue to punish Sacramento for blowing by him in the draft. Papa G dunks on Jusef Nurkic and they both scowl at each other so hard, Greece feels obligated to declare war on Boznia and Herezegovina just to formally settle the tension.

Kings: 103, Blazers: 101