• The Sacramento Kings will attempt to bounce back after an embarrassing loss to the lowly Dallas Mavericks when they head to Portland for an important matchup against the Trailblazers.

    Given how early in the season it is, and how disappointing the Sacramento King’s 10-17 record seems, it’s odd to think that this team is in a position to play a game with potential playoff implications, but that is exactly the situation that they find themselves in tonight in Portland.  Sacramento currently sits two games behind the Trailblazers for the eighth spot in the Western Conference, and a win would be a great way for them to gain some ground.

    Here are some notes heading into the game:

    • James Ham reported this morning on twitter that Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi are both doubtful to play. This is a tough blow for the team, and their last game against the Mavericks really showcased how important these two are to the offense.  With the Kings struggling to replace them, moving Garrett Temple to small forward and Ben McLemore to shooting guard could be a good fit on both ends of the floor.  Both are already starting, so this would be a very minor adjustment.
    • Darren Collison was  a large part of the team’s struggles in Dallas, scoring just two points to go along with three assists.  Collison is still trying to get back to the success that he had during his first season with the Kings, and there is reason to believe that he can get there.  Collison has not had his usual success shooting mid-range jumpers, so getting more consistent  there would really improve his percentages and add another weapon to an offense that desperately needs as many as it can get.
    • Willie Cauley-Stein has been struggling this season, and it may be time for the team to consider giving him more minutes.  Cauley-Stein showed plenty of promise last season, and if he could live up to the defensive potential that he showed at Kentucky, the team’s defense could be much better.  Cauley-Stein won’t become that type of player overnight, but allowing him to play through his mistakes may be the best route, especially with the team struggling to win consistently.

    Sacramento has been able to get some impressive wins this season, but they have all been followed by a disappointing stretch of bad play.  This team needs to start putting together sustained stretches of strong play, and with a relatively easy schedule over the next few weeks this is the perfect time to start.

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