The NBA opens up the new year with a total of five games on Tuesday night. One of these games will be between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Sacramento Kings. Both teams are in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture. This should lead to an exciting game to open up the new year. The game will be on at 9:00 PM Eastern time.
The Trail Blazers have started out the season with a record of 21-16. Portland is currently sitting in sixth place of the Western Conference standings. The Trail Blazers won their last game in dominant fashion against the Philadelphia 76ers. Portland has won three of their last five games. The Trail Blazers will look to start a nice winning streak with a win on the road.
Sacramento is sitting in ninth place of the Western Conference, with a record of 19-17. The Kings have surprised many with their strong start after having multiple rough seasons in a row. Sacramento lost their last game against the Los Angeles Lakers and two of their last three games. The Kings will look to build up a new streak to get back into that eighth playoff spot on Tuesday night.
Tuesday night’s matchup will be the first of three games between the Trail Blazers and the Kings. Portland and Sacramento will meet two more times on January 14 and April 10. These two teams are playing really competitively right now, which should lead to a closely contested game on Tuesday night.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Trail Blazers and the Kings met up a total of four times last season. The first game of the season series was hosted by Sacramento. Damian Lillard scored 29 points, while C.J. McCollum dropped 19, but the guard duo did not get much help. Willie-Cauley Stein put up 22 points off the bench. Garrett Temple and George Hill each had 14 points. The Kings were able to pull off a tight 86-82 win at home.
Portland hosted the second game of the season series. Willie Cauley-Stein had another solid night with 18 points off the bench. Zach Randolph had a 17 point night, but it was not enough for the Kings. C.J. McCollum had a big night with 25 points, while Damian Lillard dropped another 22. The Trail Blazers were able to win 102-90 in front of their home fans.
The third game of the season series was hosted by Sacramento again. Willie Cauley-Stein led the Kings in scoring again with 19 points. Buddy Hield had another 16 points, but it was not enough. Damian Lillard went off on the Kings, as he dropped 50 points. This helped lead the Trail Blazers to a 118-100 win on the road.
The final game of the season series was hosted by the Trail Blazers. Zach Randolph had a 20 point night, while Willie Cauley-Stein had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard had 26 points and 12 assists. Shabazz Napier had a solid night off the bench as he scored 20 points. This helped lead Portland to a 116-99 win to finish out the season series.
Portland was able to take the season series 3-1 last season. The Trail Blazers finished out the season in the third spot in the Western Conference standings, while Sacramento finished in twelfth place of the Western Conference. The Kings are looking much better this season, which could help lead to a much closer game.
The Trail Blazers have not been hit hard with injuries at this point in the season. Portland could be missing Maurice Harkless on Tuesday night. Sacramento will likely be missing Marvin Bagley III against the Trail Blazers. Bagley has had a solid start to his rookie season and I believe he will be missed more than Harkless in the lineup.
Portland has been led by their guard duo this season. Damian Lillard has had a strong start to the season, averaging 27 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game. C.J. McCollum has averaged 21 points per game from the Shooting Guard this season. Jusuf Nurkic has been strong holding down the Center spot. He is averaging 14.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Like the Trail Blazers, Sacramento has seen a solid start to the season from their backcourt. Buddy Hield has averaged 20 points and 5 rebounds per game at the Shooting Guard spot. De’Aaron Fox is averaging 18 points and 8 assists per game. Bogdan Bogdanovic has had a solid start off the bench. He is averaging 15.5 points per game this season. Willie Cauley-Stein has averaged 14 points and 8.5 rebounds per game to this point in the season.
The battle at the guard spot should be exciting. I believe that the Kings have a quicker pair of guards, but the experience for Portland can help give them the edge. Willie Cauley-Stein had a lot of success going up against Nurkic last season and I believe he could have another solid night on Tuesday night. Bogdan Bogdanovic could play really well going up against the Trail Blazers weaker bench.
Sacramento has hit a bit of a bump going into Tuesday night’s game, but I believe that the Kings could turn it around with a home win. Sacramento had some close games with the Trail Blazers last season, and they are playing even better this season. The Kings will look for their stronger bench to help lead them to a win on Tuesday night.
BetOnline has Portland listed as a -2 against the spread. The Trail Blazers have been a solid team, but I do not believe they have been good enough recently to be a road favorite. I think that that this game should be closer to a pick. This gives a lot of value to the Kings in Tuesday night’s matchup. I am taking Sacramento with the points.