The Sacramento Kings have turned their efforts from playoff hopefuls to playoff spoilers. The Portland Trail Blazers currently hold a game and a half lead over the Utah Jazz for the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings, making them a candidate for the Kings new mission. But Sacramento will have to go to battle without four rotational players.
DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay have all been given the night off by Sacramento to rest, and Marco Belinelli is out due to injury, leaving the team short-handed, to say the least.
Cousins is dealing with tendinitis in both feet and plans on having a platelet-rich-plasma procedure following the season in preparation for Team USA in August.
Rondo’s list of injuries look more like a short story. The 30-year-old guard is typically listed as probable with a “Right 1st MTP Joint Sprain; "Turf Toe”, Right Thumb Sprain & Right Shoulder Contusion.” Rondo has played in 69 of the Kings’ 73 games this season.
With a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, the Kings are riding a two-game win streak and have tied last season’s total of 29. With one more win, the Kings will reach the 30-win plateau for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 29-44, third place in Pacific
Trail Blazers: 38-36, last place in Pacific
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Darren Collison vs. Damian Lillard -- With Rondo sitting this one out, Collison will get the call at the lead guard position. This might be a better matchup for Sacramento. Collison has the ability to match quick with quick. He'll pick up the defensive pressure early and make Lillard work for his points. Lillard is deadly from 30-feet in. Collison has his work cut out for him.
Kings: C DeMarcus Cousins (rest) out, PG Rajon Rondo (rest) out, SF Rudy Gay (rest) out, SG Marco Belinelli (sore right foot) out.
Trail Blazers: C Meyers Leonard (dislocated left shoulder) out.
The Blazers hold a 2-0 lead over the Kings this season, with the last win coming on Jan. 26 by a final of 112-97. Portland holds a 125-76 all-time lead over the Kings and an 84-45 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
“If we’re not going to make the playoffs, then let’s help some of these guys go home with us.” - Rondo on playing spoiler