No rest for the weary. The Sacramento Kings left the friendly confines of Golden 1 Center following Monday night’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves and headed north to Portland where they’ll face the Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back.
Skal Labissiere posted one of his best games of the season for the Kings on the first night. Starting alongside Willie Cauley-Stein on the frontline, Labissiere dropped in 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in the loss. Labissiere has looked good in the last three games since returning from injury.
Damian Lillard is on fire. The smooth-shooting point guard is averaging 39.4 points per game over his last five games, including a 50 point outburst against the Kings earlier this month.
Blazers by 12
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De’Aaron Fox vs. Damian Lillard -- The last time these two faced off, Lillard put on a show. It wasn’t all on Fox, but the All-Star dropped 50 on Sacramento and he sat out the fourth quarter. Fox needs to deny the Lillard the ball and get physical with the one of the best scorers of the game.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 18-42, fourth place in Pacific
Blazers: 34-26, second place in Northwest
Kings: SG/SF Garrett Temple (back stiffness) questionable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out.
Blazers: G C.J. Wilcox (knee) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
More Skal -- The final 22 games of the season are huge for Labissiere. He’s shown signs that he can score, but the team needs more from him as a rebounder and on the defensive end. This is his chance to show he belongs in the conversation as one of the young core.
Stop the Shooters-- The Blazers guards are two of the best in the league at gunning from the outside. It can’t all be on Fox and Bogdanovic to slow the Portland’s duo. The bigs need to show on the high pick-and-roll and the rotations have to be spot on.
More Caboclo? -- Bruno Caboclo logged almost 19 minutes in the Kings loss to the T-Wolves. He had a total of seven minutes this season in a Toronto Raptors uniform and just 113 minutes combined in nearly three seasons in the league. He’s long and athletic. He can play the three or the four. Against Portland, those attributes might come in handy.
The Blazers lead the season series 2-1 coming into Tuesday evening’s game. Portland lead the all-time series 131-78 and they own the Kings during the Sacramento-era 90-47.