Game 35 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, Jimmer Fredette and Aaron Gray talk things over during a break in action against the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

Gametime: 3:00 pm PT

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Television)

Sacramento Kings Projected Starters (12-22)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Marcus Thornton
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Cleveland Cavaliers Projected Starters (13-23)

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: C.J. Miles
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Tristan Thompson
C: Anderson Varejao

What to watch

1. Luol Deng vs. Rudy Gay

When the season started, the Cavs and Kings both had glaring weaknesses at the wing.  That’s no longer the case as these two teams square off today.  The Cavs and Kings addressed their neesd for stability at small forward by making major trades.  The Kings acquired Rudy Gay last month and the early returns have been positive thus far.  In 14 games with the Kings, Gay is shooting a career high 51.4 percent from the field while scoring 20.4 points per contest.  The Cavs are still getting a feel for Deng, who is set to play just his second game with his new team. In a win over the Utah Jazz, he scored 10 points on 8-of-10 shooting in 21 minutes.

2. Kyrie Irving vs. Isaiah Thomas

There’s more than one match-up to watch today.  The point guard battle should be a fun one as Thomas and Irving, the bookend picks of the 2011 NBA draft, go to head-to-head this afternoon.  With the exception of a few missed games due to injury, Irving has continued to play at a high level for the Cavaliers.  The third-year point guard is averaging 22.1 points and 6.2 assists per game this season.  Meanwhile, Thomas has increased his production since becoming the Kings’ starting point guard.  Coming into today’s game, Thomas is averaging 20.6 points and 7.8 assists in 16 games in Sacramento’s starting lineup.

3. Will the Kings get anything out of their shooting guards?

Last week, Michael Malone made the call to shift rookie Ben McLemore to the bench and veteran Marcus Thornton to the starting unit.  The switch has not yielded much results.  In their last two games, the Kings’ shooting guards have combined just score six points on 2-of-15 from the field.  The Kings have won two in a row without much help from their two off guards, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a lift from Thornton and McLemore in today’s game against the Cavs.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.