NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 26th (All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (9-18) at Portland Trail Blazers (13-13), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Other than a change of venue, one big difference for Wednesday night's rematch between Sacramento and Portland is that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will actually be in the building.
It is unknown if Cousins will be in the lineup, however, as the Kings visit the Trail Blazers to conclude a home-and-home set and the season series between the clubs.
Cousins, Sacramento's leading scorer and rebounder, was suspended indefinitely by the club for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team after he and head coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Cousins was benched for the rest of that game and told to stay in the locker room. He was then handed his ban and was not with the club for Sunday's meeting with Portland.
The 22-year-old, who is averaging 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, had his suspension lifted on Monday after one game and practiced, but Smart did not say that Cousins would start on Wednesday night.
"He's been reinstated, but that doesn't mean he's playing right away," Smart told Sacramento's website. "But he's back around the team and came back today and apologized to the team and to me, as well. We'll just move forward."
Minus Cousins, who has twice been suspended by the league this season, the Kings dished out a season-high 31 assists in Sunday's 108-96 win over the Trail Blazers.
Marcus Thornton led six Sacramento players in double figures with 22 points, while John Salmons had 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
"Everybody was into the game, cheering for one another," said Thornton. "That's what we need. Guys played very unselfish tonight."
Travis Outlaw and Isaiah Thomas contributed 15 and 11 points, respectively, in the win, Sacramento's second in three games following a five-game slide.
Tyreke Evans also missed Sunday's game with a knee injury that has held him out of nine games total this season. He is day-to-day, but not expected to play tonight.
LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson each contributed double-doubles, but Portland had a five-game winning streak snapped. Aldridge tallied 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Hickson totaled 14 points and 11 boards.
Rookie Damian Lillard tallied 15 points and seven assists for Portland.
"(The Kings) shot the ball very well in the second half and we couldn't keep up with them," said Portland coach Terry Stotts.
It was the Trail Blazers' second straight loss to the Kings after winning the first meeting between the clubs on Nov. 13. Portland is now in danger of losing a season series to Sacramento for the first time since dropping three of four in 2007-08.
The Kings, though, have lost six of their last eight in Portland.
12/26 10:50:05 ET