Gametime: 7:00 pm PDT
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.
Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television)
Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (0-1)
PG: Darren Collison
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins
Portland Trail Blazers Probable Starters (1-0)
Three things to ponder
1. Sense of urgency
The Kings looked lifeless at times versus the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, particularly in the second half when they were outscored 48-28. Sacramento must respond to getting punched in the gut by coming out tirelessly swinging at the Trail Blazers. They must remain collected and making smarter decisions on both sides of the court. Another 20+ turnover night will result in a guaranteed loss to a Portland team that doesn’t waste its own possessions.
2. Ben McLemore
No longer “M-16,” McLemore dressed in his new No. 23 jersey on Wednesday. The 21-year-old guard finished 0-of-5 on field goals and 0-of-2 on 3-pointers for a grand total of zero points. Klay Thompson also challenged him with determined drives, picking up a few shooting fouls with McLemore out of position. The Kings’ 2013 lottery pick will have his hands full getting things going while facing another feisty defender in Wesley Matthews.
3. How to shut down L.A.
Last season, LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 22 points on 46.8 percent shooting and only two turnovers per game playing the Kings. Aldridge scored 27 points in the Blazers’ season-opening win versus Serge Ibaka and the Oklahoma City Thunder, so the All-Star is already red-hot coming to Sacramento. Jason Thompson will be primarily tasked with slowing down the power forward, who will try to pull the Kings big out with his fakes and unblockable elbow jumpers.