Programming note: Kings-Blazers coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California (territory restrictions apply) and streaming on Live Extra
UPDATE (2:30 p.m. on Monday) -- DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Ramon Sessions have all been upgraded from questionable to probable for Monday's game against the Trail Blazers.
The Kings and Blazers, both owning three-game losing streaks, connect on Monday at the Moda Center in the second of three meetings this season.
In the first matchup this season, Rudy Gay’s game-high 40 points propelled Sacramento to a 103-94 win over Portland on Halloween at Sleep Train Arena.
Reeling with injuries, the Kings (16-24) have six of their next seven games on the road starting Monday against the Blazers (30-11), who are in the throes of an uncommon losing skid.
Blazers by 11
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Darren Collison vs. Damian Lillard -- The assignments never stop for Collison. Lillard put up 41 points last season in the third meeting against Sacramento, but it wasn’t enough as the Kings defeated the Blazers 123-119.
Notwithstanding overcoming Lillard’s production on that occasion, the Kings must prevent an encore performance by the Oakland native.
1. Inexorable defense –- "Rip City" is seventh in the NBA in scoring with major threats all over the floor in Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and the rest of the crew.
Let’s face it, aside for keeping Oklahoma City and Denver in the 80s in wins, Sacramento’s defense has been feckless under head coach Tyrone Corbin, allowing 106.4 points per night -- ranking next to last in the league.
The Kings need a high energy, relentless defensive effort to be in position to win.
2. Intelligent offense –- Execute with recognition of score, clock and situation versus the Blazers, who are third in the NBA in points allowed and second in field-goal percentage against.
3. Entire roster –- As long as the injury list has been for Sacramento, everyone needs to step up a la Jason Thompson’s 23-point, 22-rebound effort Saturday versus the Clippers.
Kings -- C DeMarcus Cousins (right ankle sprain), F Rudy Gay (left shoulder strain and left knee capsule sprain) and G Ramon Sessions (low back strain) are questionable while F Omri Casspi (eye abrasion and left knee bone contusion) is probable. F Carl Landry (right wrist sprain) and F Eric Moreland (left shoulder labral tear) are out.
Blazers -- F Joel Freeland (right shoulder strain) and C Robin Lopez (right hand fracture) are out.
The Blazers took last season’s series 3-1 and the Kings trail Portland in the all time series 76-121, including 45-80 in the Sacramento era.
Darren Collison after Saturday’s 117-108 loss to the Clippers: “I can’t be any more happy about our effort. ... If we play with that same effort, we’re going to be alright.
“That’s Kings basketball right there -- where you leave it out there on the floor, the guys who are out there playing just play hard.”