Game 6 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers looks to break down Travis Outlaw. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PST

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Television)

Sacramento Kings Projected Starters (1-4)

PG:Greivis Vasquez
SG: Marcus Thornton
SF: John Salmons
PF: Patrick Patterson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Portland Trail Blazers Projected Starters (3-2)

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Robin Lopez

What to watch

1. Contributions from the wings

DeMarcus Cousins showed up to play, but his teammates didn’t give him enough last night.  As a result, the Kings fell to the Blazers by a 13-point margin. The play of both Marcus Thornton and John Salmons was particularly egregious as the two men were a combined 3-of-18 from the field in defeat.  The Kings really need to see something from those two guys, otherwise it’ll be smooth sailing for the Blazers in Sacramento.

2. The Kings’ interior defense

Sacramento played a much better game last night, but their cohesiveness on the defensive end still left something to be desired.  They allowed Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson to score 21 points against them, which likely was the difference in the 13-point loss.  The Kings can’t allow those two to get easy buckets especially if they have no defensive answer for LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard.

3. Controlling the glass

The Kings were out-classed yesterday evening on the boards by a team that doesn’t have great rebounding big men.  Cousins had an uncharacteristic single-digit night with just nine rebounds while his team grabbed a total of just 31 boards.  Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Lillard combined to grab 22 of the Blazers’ 47 rebounds last night.  They Kings will need to get something out of Salmons and Patrick Patterson, both of whom grabbed just six rebounds total yesterday evening.  They’ll also likely need a better performance from Travis Outlaw, whose rebounded the ball pretty well early this year.  He grabbed just two boards off the bench in yesterday’s loss.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.