Game 38 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

 Sacramento Kings walk the court. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

For Cavs perspective, visit TrueHoop Network Affiliate Cavs The Blog.

The book on the Cavs:  Even though they have the reigning Rookie of the Year, Cleveland is still a ways away from once again becoming a factor in the Eastern Conference.  They’ve lost seven of their last ten, including a 20-point drubbing in Los Angeles to the Lakers, who hadn’t won a game in 2013 until last night.  Anderson Varejao was playing at an All-Star level until he tore a muscle in his right knee that’s derailed a possible trip to Houston.

Did you know?  Omri Casspi reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland six days ago.  The former Kings forward is averaging 4.7 points per game and shooting a career-low 36.5 percent from the field.

Status Updates: Aaron Brooks is questionable after sitting out Saturday’s game and yesterday’s practice with the flu.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (13-24)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Cleveland Cavaliers Probable Starters (9-30)

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: C.J. Miles
SF: Alonzo Gee
PF:  Tristan Thompson

C: Tyler Zeller

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 97
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 102.3
  • Defensive Rating: 108.5
  • Pace: 94.58

Cavs

  • Points Per Game: 94.4
  • Offensive Rating: 98.2
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 99.2
  • Defensive Rating: 106.3
  • Pace: 94.70

Three questions to ponder

1.  Can the Kings contain the Cavs in transition?

Sacramento was blasted on the fast break by the Miami Heat on Saturday.  The defending champions outpaced the Kings 26-13 in fast break points and forced Sacramento into committing 17 turnovers.  The Cavs are young and have some speed on their side, but they are coming into Sleep Train Arena on the second game in as many nights.

2.  Will Jason Thompson awake from his rebounding slump?

Thompson has not been as good on the glass recently as he has been throughout most of the season.  In the Kings’ four game losing streak, the starting power forward is averaging just 3.8 rebounds per contest.  The Cavs might just be what the doctor ordered to cure Thompson of his ails on the glass.  The 26-year-old big man’s last double-double (19 points and 10 rebounds) came at the expense of Cleveland’s frontline.

3.  Will Jimmer Fredette come out of his shooting slump?

Fredette is another player who has had his fair share of struggles in recent games.  After shooting astronomical percentages for much of the season, the second-year guard has seen a drop-off in his efficiency.  In his last four outings, Fredette has posted a true-shooting percentage of 32 percent, well below his season-average of 56.7 percent.  Smart said last week that teams are now recognizing Fredette as a legitimate offensive threat, leading opposing defenses to pay closer attention to him.  But with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton back in the mix, can Fredette get enough playing time to show he can adapt?

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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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.