Game 45 Preview: Sac Kings at Cleveland Cavaliers
Game time: 4:30 p.m. PDT
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH.
Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television)
Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (16-28)
PG: Darren Collison
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins
Cleveland Cavaliers Probable Starters (27-20)
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: J.R. Smith
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kevin Love
C: Timofey Mozgov
Three things to ponder
1. LeBron James
For the first time this season, the Kings will face LeBron James (wrist). Sacramento handled Cleveland easily back on January 11 without him, winning 103-84, but since then the Eastern Conference club has found its stride, while the Kings have fallen deeper into disarray. Even without James, the Cavaliers boast two elite players in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, the latter who scored 55 points in a victory against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
2. Less long balls
The Kings allowed their last two opponents, the Warriors and Raptors, to score a combined 34 3-pointers on nearly 46 percent accuracy. Lax halfcourt perimeter defense hasn’t helped, and the team has been terrible defending in transition. The Cavaliers are ninth in the NBA in 3-point makes per contest, so open looks can only spell doom.
3. DeMarcus Cousins’ response
Fresh off his first All-Star Game nomination, DeMarcus Cousins finally has reason to smile in a mostly tumultuous season in Sacramento. Naturally, the best center in the league with the stats to back it up should have an extra pep to his step against Timofey Mozgov and the Cleveland frontcourt. Cousins dropped 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks against the Cavaliers in their last meeting.