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Kings vs. Blazers Preview: Oh we actually have a game today?

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The Kings are back in action tonight with some new faces and new ways to be disappointed on the way!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline is over and your favorite King is still a King! (Sorry, Kanellos!) With no time to waste, the Kings have themselves a game Friday night in Sacramento against the a completely healthy Blazers whose sole move at the deadline was to dump Noah Vonleh for that sweet, sweet cash relief. The Kings, on the other hand, are down a few players: Frank Mason is still out with his platar injury, Skal is still out with his dinged wing and Garrett Temple had an oral procedure and isn’t expected to suit up tonight. On top of that, George Hill has been permanently stuck in Upside-Down version of Sacramento, Malachi Richardson was sent to Isla Nublar and Georgios Papagiannis didn’t make the minutes minimum for a pop-culture reference; we just cut him. Newbies to the squad aren’t expected to play either: Seven Time All-Star Joe Johnson is hoping to be bought out, Iman Shumpert has been battling a plantar fasciitis, and Bruno Caboclo’s flight isn’t expected to arrive from Toronto till 2020. See! I referenced the thing! I did it! Here’s to being another day further from the 2016 NBA Draft (and day closer to the 2018 one).

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Friday, February 9th; 7:00 pm PST

Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Down (Players) and Out (of the Playoff Hunt): As the dust settles post-Trade Deadline in a place where no substantial first rounders came to save the day and nothing of real interest came to the Kings other than waning hopes of some distant free agency, Kings fans can only collectively stare out at the rest of the NBA landscape and squint at their binary bright spots “development” and “draft picks” and dream what could be out there into the vast, dark void of Cap Space. The Sacramento Kings are who they are, from now until the end of the season, save for some disastrous injury or minor waiver wire grab. The disappointment that follows trade deadlines for fans of teams like the Kings can be rough; teams expected to make a splash, and instead, hear the thud of fans hearts falling into their stomach. $20 million out the door and all we got was this lousy t-shirt cash considerations?

The fact remains that the core remains in place. Our ephemeral and ethereal core consisting now of De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, our 2018 Draft pick and a ton of maybe’s, that is, until the next change of heart. For the final third of the season, your reason to watch is basically seeing the growth in those players and to see if the Kings can play spoiler to 1) playoff hopefuls and 2)their #1 pick hopes.

Their first crack tonight at smoking a playoff hopeful is against the Portland Trailblazers, a team five games above .500 and the current sixth seed in the Western Conference. They’re third in the NBA in three point shooting percentage at 37.9%, eighth in the NBA in total rebounds and hold teams to the ninth lowest scoring in the league at 103.9 ppg. Those are the three things that have killed the Kings all year long, and if the Kings want to win, they’ll have to find a way to outperform all three. Deep breath. Exhale.

Prediction: Freed from the fears of making George Hill jealous, De’Aaron Fox comes out fully tonight; 5 threes, 10 assists and the fake sprained ankle limp gone for the boy who would be King. Willie snatches 15 boards, blocks 4 shots and it isn’t until they show highlights of Robert Horry’s shot clanging off the rim in 2002 that we realize that all Kings fans have been transported to the Good Place.

Kings: 109, Blazers: 104