The Trail Blazers Jan. 13 contest against the Kings is the second of three meetings between Portland and Sacramento this season. The final matchup will come on March 4 in Portland just ahead of the NBA’s All-Star break.
It was just last Saturday that the Blazers defeated the Kings 125-99 in Sacramento behind CJ McCollum’s 37 points.
Portland has won 13 of its last 17 matchups between the two teams.
With another win over the Kings on Wednesday, the Blazers would improve to 7-4 and extend their winning streak to four after beating the Raptors at home 112-111 in a comeback win.
With Jusuf Nurkic out in the second half of Monday’s home game due to a left quad contusion that he suffered late in the first quarter, Portland went small and played Robert Covington at the five and Carmelo Anthony at the four.
Portland has listed Damian Lillard (right ankle sprain) as probable and Nurkic as questionable for Wednesday’s contest in Sacramento.
The Trail Blazers have also listed Keljin Blevins (personal reasons) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) as out.
For the Kings, Buddy Hield (right ankle; sprain) and Richaun Holmes (left ankle; soreness) are probable. DaQuan Jeffires (left ankle; sprain) is out.
The season started for the Trail Blazers with the avowed purpose of improving the team’s defense. Everybody knows that. But at first, there wasn’t a lot of evidence of things getting better.
Lately, though, as the Trail Blazers ride a three-game win streak into Sacramento for a Wednesday night game, things are obviously better. Portland’s defensive efficiency rating is up to No. 23 in the league. Still, not great, but a big jump from the 28 and 29 spots where it has resided since last season.
“We started doing a five-game rolling average of our defensive rating and our last five games have been a big improvement,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “You know, obviously, in the first five games with the Utah game, the Clipper game, it kind of overshadowed the overall rating.
“But I like the direction it's going. I think we are improving. Like every team, we’ve got to be a little bit more consistent, but I think the last five games have been a marked improvement.”
Robert Covington, who came to Portland as part of that structural renovation, agrees.
“A lot of guys have taken a lot of growth,” Covington said. “You know, Dame, CJ, Melo -- they're prolific scorers. But they understand that in order for us to be great, we’ve got to get it done on both ends of the court.”
Read more here.
The Blazers are -4.5 point favorites against the Kings, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about the Portland and Sacramento matchup --
- CJ McCollum scored 37 points (13-22 FG, 6-11 3-PT, 5-5 FT) and had three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes against Sacramento on January 9th. It was his second-highest scoring game of the season. McCollum's career-highs in both rebounds (11, Dec. 27, 2015) and blocks (four, Dec. 4, 2019) have come against the Kings.
- Enes Kanter added 11 points and 15 rebounds against the Kings on Jan. 9, recording his fourth double-double of the season. Kanter's four double-doubles are tops among NBA bench players.
- Damian Lillard finished with 17 points (5-16 FG, 1-7 3-PT, 6-6 FT), four rebounds and six assists against Sacramento on Jan. 9. Lillard has scored at least 20 points in 12 of his last 14 games opposite the Kings.
- Tyrese Haliburton scored 12 points (5-8 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 1-1 FT) and matched a career-best mark with eight assists on Saturday against the Trail Blazers.
- Marvin Bagley tacked on 15 points (5-14 FG, 1-2 3-PT, 4-6 FT) and eight rebounds in just over 24 minutes against the Trail Blazers on Jan. 9.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -4.5 (-110) -- Kings: +4.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Wednesday, January 13
Where: Golden 1 Center | Sacramento, CA
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.