Game 2: Kings at Portland Trail Blazers

Well game 2 is here. The Kings are 1-0, and getting to 2-0 is going to be harder than it was getting to 1-0. First off there is the fact that this is a road game. (Although the Kings will be back in Sac by about 1230 or 1am.) There is the emotional high from last night vs the Lakers to play against a Western Conference Playoff team from last season that is still out to show that it has a long shelf life in it’s own way. It’s not like Portland is full of scrubs.

After 1 game, the Kings are 6th in ORtg (this isn’t going to last) at 112.6 Pts Per Game. (Last year the Kings were at 103.5 ORtg.) After last night the Kings were at a 102.5 DRtg. (Last year 109 DRtg.) Does 1 game mean much? No. But it sure will be fun to watch this change from night to night. The current ORtg is 6th in the NBA and the DRtg is 14th in the NBA. Last season, the Kings were 20th in DRtg and 25th in ORtg.

As far as the Offensive 4 factors go, the Kings are 5th in eFG%, 9th in TOV%, 17th in ORB%, and 8th in FT/FGA. Defensively, they are 6th (this is good) in eFG% allowed, 25th in TOV% (a low turnover game means you turn over the ball less and force less turnovers), the DRB% is 24th in the NBA (very much needs work), and give up the 7th least amount of FT/FGA (means that the opponents are going to the line less). Do know that the Hawks and Jazz have yet to play this season so these early numbers, because it is only one game, mean very little. It’s going to be worth discussing after about 10 games though. Compare this with last season? Watch these trends as the Kings will need to be competitive to win games.

As far as the Blazers go? They are all about LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace (G-Dub!!!), Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews (he had an exceptionally sneaky underrated season last year), Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford and Marcus Camby assuming he’s up to it.

Assuming you believe the Blazers play at a faster pace than the Kings, you might as well notice the Blazers are 2nd in pace (guffaw!) and the Kings are at 22nd in pace (guffaw deux!). Don’t pay attention to it. The Lakers are a slow paced team and for the most part the Kings played a halfcourt game with the occasional up tempo moment. The Blazers played Philly in the Rose Garden out lasting them 107-103.

 

So what will be the dealy-o to winning? Well….good question. I think we will see the first real glimpse of this team tonight without all the nonsense of the Lakers hanging over the proceedings.

Will Tyreke Evans’s ball handling continue to be excellent as it was last night against the Lakers?

How will Marcus Thornton play against the Blazers? (If you thought my recap didn’t do the Bayou Bulldog justice, you got my point.)

Will “THE” Jimmer be less tentative? Will Jimmer take over the world? Will Jimmer score in double digits? Inquiring minds want to know Jimmer. Just sayin’ man.

How will DeMarcus Cousins respond to a positive outing? Can he maintain the momentum or will it be easy come easy go for the young man?

Will JJ Hickson and Jason Thompson make a real and purposeful impact?

Will LSG (read last night’s recap if you don’t get this) destroy the Blazers in the wake of no longer having a hometown team’s arena to go home to?

Stay tuned. The Kings and Blazers tip at 7pm. The game will be on whatever cable, broadband, or satellite package you subscribe to. Or not. I’ll see you when I write my recap. Or not.