NBA 2020-21 league action continues as the Sacramento Kings visit the Moda Center for a face-off with the Portland Trail Blazers. After a poor road trip, the Blazers have protected their home court well.
In their last outing, Damian Lillard made two clutch three-pointers after having struggled the entire game, which gave them a 2-point win over Stephen Curry's Warriors.
The Sacramento Kings, however, recently ended their losing streak against the Pistons. They are entering this game with some confidence, having won two of their last three games, including a win over the reigning champions, the LA Lakers.
Fixture: Sacramento Kings vs Portland Trail Blazers | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Thursday, March 4th; 10:00 PM ET (Friday, March 5th; 8:30 AM IST).
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
Despite their injury issues, the Portland Trail Blazers are dominating teams and hold a splendid 20-14 record. They are currently 5th in the competitive Western Conference and Lillard's supporting cast has been performing at a high level. Veteran Carmelo Anthony has been showing signs of his vintage self lately, scoring 22 points in his last outing against the Warriors.
Meanwhile, Gary Trent Jr. and Robert Covington are playing the perfect role in "3-and-D" for the Portland Trail Blazers. They provide timely threes while often guarding the opposition's best players. Enes Kanter and Derrick Jones Jr. have been putting up great production on the floor as well.
Key Player - Damian Lillard
With his whirlwind 30-foot bombs, incredible leadership and clutch scoring, Damian Lillard has deservingly earned his name in the MVP conversation. Lillard, in his recent interview with The Athletic, talked about personal loss and tragedy while also performing at a high level on the court.
It is truly incredible what he is accomplishing even without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Lillard leads the team by example, having played in all games but one and leading the Portland Trail Blazers in minutes played, points and assists.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G - Damian Lillard, G - Gary Trent Jr., F - Derrick Jones Jr., F - Robert Covington, C - Enes Kanter.
Sacramento Kings Preview
The Sacramento Kings didn't have a great start to the season. They made some changes in the offseason but so far appear to be overwhelmed by some of the star-studded teams in the league. The Kings have been abysmal on the defensive end, and their subpar defense has been costing them games despite their decent offense.
On a positive note, rookie Tyrese Haliburton has been exceptional so far in his rookie year. He averages 30 minutes a game, leads the team in steals, and shoots 60% from the floor.
Haliburton grew up watching Curry and he has modeled his game a lot on the two-time MVP. He is an amazing shooter who averages at least 2.5 threes a game on an incredible 43% efficiency from beyond the arc.
Key Player - De'Aaron Fox
De'Aaron Fox has been under a lot of pressure this season. This is his 4th year in the league and he recently earned a massive max contract in the offseason. Fox's development and improvement have been slow and steady.
His scoring attempts increase slightly every year but his overall numbers remain identical. As a point guard, Fox is shockingly just 67% from the free-throw line and makes just over one three a game. Regardless of his stats, he leads the Sacramento Kings in scoring and assists and is incredibly crucial to the lineup.
Sacramento Kings Predicted Lineup
G - De'Aaron Fox, G - Buddy Hield, F - Harrison Barnes, F - Marvin Bagley III, C - Richaun Holmes.
Kings vs Trail Blazers Match Prediction
The Portland Trail Blazers are the clear favorites in this matchup. They have been incredible on their home court this season and are entering this matchup after consecutive wins.
The Sacramento Kings need to drastically improve their defense in order to win games or else they'll find themselves, yet again, in the lottery seeds.
The point guard battle between De'Aaron Fox and Damian Lillard will be critical to the game. Meanwhile, Enes Kanter and Richaun Holmes will fight for dominance in the paint. But Kanter is better at getting offensive boards, leading to several second-chance points for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Where to watch the Kings vs Trail Blazers game?
The Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers game will be broadcast locally on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports California in the US. The game can also be live-streamed on the NBA League Pass.