NBA Odds – Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings
Zack GarrisonNo comments
The Sacramento Kings will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, October 31, at the Sleep Train Arena (10:00 p.m. Eastern) in the second game of the 2014-15 season for both teams.
In the last ten head-to-head meetings, each team has won five. But Portland has had the bulk of the recent success, taking four of the last five and three of four last year. Indeed, the teams seem destined for drastically different seasons. The Blazers made it to the Western Conference semi-finals last year and are anxious to go even further this season; the Kings, meanwhile, finished third-last in the powerful Western Conference and aren’t likely to see much improvement.
The Kings are led by DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Both Cousins and Gay won the Basketball World Cup with the US National Team this summer and the Kings brass are hoping that experience will bring a winning culture back to Sacramento.
Last season, Cousins led the Kings in most statistical categories, including points (22.7 PPG), rebounds (11.7 RPG), steals (1.5 SPG), and blocks (1.3 BPG). With guard Isaiah Thomas shipped to Phoenix, Rudy Gay will play an even bigger role in the Kings’ backcourt this year. Last year, Gay averaged 20.1 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 55 games with the Kings (after being acquired from the Raptors). The Kings will be looking for those numbers to increase in the absence of Thomas.
On the other side, the Blazers offense is spearheaded by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and point guard Damian Lillard. Aldridge was the Blazers’ best player on most nights last season, leading the team in points (23.2 PPG) and rebounds (11.11 RPG). Lillard, more of a scoring point guard than a distributor, chipped in with 20.7 PPG and 5.6 APG. Lillard really came into his own in the playoffs last year, upping his averages to 22.9 PPG and 6.5 AGP, and nailing the the series winner against Houston in Round 1.
Both teams started this season in much the same way as they finished the last: the Kings were blown out by the Warriors (95-77) and the Blazers routed the Durant-less Thunder (106-89).
The battle in the post between DeMarcus Cousins and LaMarcus Aldridge should be fun to watch on Friday. The Blazers are 5.5-point favorites at the moment and, if they want to prove themselves among the best in the West, need to take care of business against conference bottom-feeders like Sacramento.