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Game 8 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Previewing tonight's action between the Kings and Blazers.

 Chuck Hayes and Tyreke Evans defend LaMarcus Aldridge in the post (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where:  Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: Click here.

For Blazers perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network affiliate Portland Roundball Society.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (2-5)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: James Johnson
PF: Thomas Robinson
C: Jason Thompson

Portland Trail Blazers Probable Starters (2-5)

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: J.J. Hickson

Three questions to ponder

1. Who wins the mid-major point guard battle: Jimmer Fredette or Damian Lillard?

Before both of them became heralded NBA prospects, these two met each other at the collegiate level.  Early on, Lillard has thrived as a pro while Fredette has started finally breakthrough after a tough first season.  Keith Smart is making a commitment to find Jimmer more time on the floor because of his strong play, so this could be a fascinating match-up that plays out in tonight’s contest.

2. Does Nicolas Batum manhandle the Kings from the wing?

Unlike some players who seem to regress after a big pay day, the Trail Blazers forward is starting to show he might be worth the roughly $45-million contract he signed to in the offseason.  He’s currently second in scoring for Portland, averaging just about 19 points per game.  The Kings defense has been solid all around, but could Batum break the seal tonight from the wing?

3. Will Tyreke Evans or James Johnson find their ways on offense?

Specifically with their shooting stroke.  Both Johnson and Evans are struggling to bury shots from the perimeter.  According to statistics complied by Basketball-Reference, the Kings small forward has made just 3-of-28 attempted jump shots this season.  Evans, meanwhile, has connected on just 7-of-43 of his jumpers this year.  These two have provided much needed energy from defense, but their contributions on that end of the floor are being negated by their failures on offense.

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