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Kings vs. Trail Blazers preview: Sacramento looks to go into All-Star break on high note

The Kings don’t play again until March 11.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento wrap up the first half of their season with a road matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Kings are coming off a close 123-120 win against the Los Angeles Lakers and will look to win back-to-back games for the first time in 3.5 weeks.

Sacramento catches a break for the second-straight game. The Lakers were missing LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol for Wednesday’s game, and it looks like Portland will be without some key pieces on Thursday.

C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Harry Giles will all sit this one out, giving the Kings a golden opportunity to head into the NBA All-Star break on a high note.

Game Information

Where: Moda Center, Portland

When: March 4, at 7:00 p.m. PT

How to watch/listen: NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM

Projected Starting Lineups

Kings (14-21): De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes

Trail Blazers (20-14): Damian Lillard, Gary Trent Jr, Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington, Enes Kanter

Injuries/Absences

Kings: Buddy Hield (ankle), Jabari Parker (health and safety) — QUESTIONABLE; Tyrese Haliburton (calf), Chimeze Metu (wrist), Hassan Whiteside (health and safety) — OUT

Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum (foot), Jusuf Nurkic (wrist), Harry Giles (calf) — OUT

This will be the third meeting of the season between the two teams. The Blazers won both games against the Kings in early January.

The first loss was a 125-99 blowout that saw Portland go 17-for-41 from beyond the arc. The injured McCollum was lights out in that affair, finishing with 37 points. Turnovers were also a big issue for Kings. They had 15 of them during that game resulting in 30 points for the Blazers.

Sacramento played Portland a lot tougher just four nights later in a 132-126 loss, but as has been the case in most defeats for the Kings this season, the defense was a major issue. Luke Walton’s squad had no answer for the Blazers’ backcourt.

Lillard went off for 40 points and 13 assists, while McCollum chipped in 26. Once again, Sacramento couldn’t contain Portland’s outside shooting. The Blazers connected on 23-of-48 attempts from the 3-point line.

As Walton alluded to earlier in the week, the Kings are allowing too much penetration from the outside. Although McCollum will sit this one out, they can’t afford to let Lillard have his way on the perimeter.

What do you think will be the key to a Sacramento victory in Portland?