Saturday's game between the Trail Blazers (4-4) and the Sacramento Kings (4-5) is the first of three contests between the two during the 2020-21 season. The teams will meet again in Sacramento on Jan. 13 and then in Portland on March 4 right before the All-Star break.
The Blazers and Kings met twice during the preseason with the two splitting the exhibition games after Portland’s 127-102 blowout win on Dec. 11.
Sacramento will be playing in the second night of a back-to-back when the Kings face the Blazers. The Kings are coming off a high scoring loss to the Raptors. Toronto set a franchise scoring record with Friday’s 144-123 victory over the Kings. In the loss, De'Aaron Fox finished with 23 points and rookie Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and eight assists.
Portland only has one player on its injury report for Saturday’s game -- Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) is out.
The Kings have listed DaQuan Jeffries (left ankle; sprain) and Jabari Parker (health and safety protocols) listed as out.
As Portland hits the road, our Trail Blazers Insider, Dwight Jaynes looks at how the NBA's homecourt advantage is disappearing:
Homecourt advantage used to be a very big deal in the NBA. It has been in all sports, but particularly in the NBA.
But so far this season, that hasn’t been the case. The fact that fans are not allowed in arenas seems to be having a big impact on results in the league. At least that’s the way it looks.
Last season, 10 of the 15 Western Conference teams compiled home records above the .500 mark. Take a guess right now as to how many West teams have won more than 50 percent of their home games.
If you said three, you would be correct. And that includes some of the best teams in the conference. The Lakers are 2-3 at home. The Clippers are 2-2. The Jazz are 1-2. The Spurs are 1-3 and the Grizzlies are 0-5. Yes, small sample size, but I would have thought it might take the Lakers six weeks to lose three home games.
That makes Sacramento’s 3-1 home record heading into Saturday night’s game vs. the Trail Blazers look pretty good.
Terry Stotts was asked whether he sees a decline in homecourt advantage in games played in fanless arenas.
“I think it's hard to put a percentage on it,” Stotts said Friday, before his team took off to play the Kings. “I still think that there is a homecourt advantage just because of the travel, being at a hotel, the routine.
“There still is piped-in noise, familiar surroundings, things like that. Obviously, it's not as much without the fan influence, no question. But I still think there is a home court advantage.”
I would agree. But I'm not sure it's what it used to be.
There was a studya few years ago that indicated that the homecourt advantage didn’t have to do with a crowd’s frenzied energy boost to the players on the home team, but perhaps because of the impact the crowd has on those people officiating the games.
The study used the league’s data base of callsmade in the last two minutes of close games, which includes a public judgment of good calls, bad calls and good non-calls and bad non-calls.
Read more from Dwight here.
The Blazers are -5 point favorites against the Kings on Saturday, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday's matchup --
- LAST SEASON: The Trail Blazers and Kings split the season series in 2019-20, 2-2. Prior to last season, Portland had won the season series with Sacramento five consecutive years, dating back to the 2013-14 season.
- Damian Lillard averaged 24.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists in four games against the Kings in 2019-20. Lillard has scored at least 20 points in 12 of his last 13 games against the Kings, and his career-high of 16 assists came in Sacramento on Dec. 20, 2016.
- In four games against the Kings last season, CJ McCollum averaged 23.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He scored 33 points on 5-of-10 shooting from deep against Sacramento on Dec. 4th of last season.
- In four games against the Trail Blazers last season, Buddy Hield averaged 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Hield has finished with at least 20 points in each of his last four contests against Portland.
- De'Aaron Fox averaged 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists in two games against Portland last season.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -5 (-110) -- Kings: +5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Saturday, January 9
Where: Golden 1 Center | Sacramento, CA
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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