Live from the locker room: Kings vs. Cavs
Here is the latest news live from Sleep Train Arena:
- After a big win on Wednesday night over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Sacramento Kings (15-21) fell flat on their face Friday night against the Denver Nuggets. Tonight they face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers (19-18) who are without NBA superstar LeBron James for the eighth straight contest, but it sounds like he is on the mend. “We hope so, yes, we hope so,” Blatt said when asked if James would return to practice tomorrow. “We’ve been building him slowly but surely and getting him more and more involved in practice, and we hope he can go tomorrow in practice.”
- The Cavs made a couple of trades this week, including a deal to add center Timofey Mozgov from the Nuggets as well as J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the Knicks. Rookie head coach David Blatt has the difficult job of integrating these new pieces on the fly. “We’re doing it on the fly obviously, but we’ve had the opportunity to practice a day here and a day there, unlike our schedule of the past few weeks where we had so many back-to-back games and such a high volume of games in a short period of time,” Blatt said. “Slowly but surely we’re getting them involved and we’re utilizing every minute we can to get them up to speed.”
- Kevin Love has stepped up in James’ absence. In his last five games, Love has averaged 23.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and only 1.6 turnovers.. “We have to continue to make sure that everything he gets, we make him work for,” Tyrone Corbin said. “He’s going to shoot some 3-pointers, he’s going to be in the post some, he’s one of the top guys in the first quarter at getting points in that first quarter so we got to make sure that we don’t let him get off to a great start, although they’re going to go to him early to see if they can get him going. It’s not just going to be the guy who’s guarding him, it’s going to be a team effort because he will set screens. He’ll be spaced out on the floor a lot for the four-man. So we have to make sure we get hands in his face.”
- Ramon Sessions and Omri Casspi are out again tonight for Sacramento. Sessions has missed eight straight games with a lower back strain, and Casspi has missed 1o of the team’s last 16 with a left knee bone contusion. During pregame, Casspi told Cowbell Kingdom that he is getting closer to a return. His tentative schedule is to try to return to practice on Tuesday barring a setback and with any luck, he hopes to be back on the court by next weekend.
- Cleveland is without James (knee/back), Anderson Varejao (Achilles tendon) and Iman Shumpert (left shoulder), while veteran Shawn Marion (left hip strain) is “extremely doubtful,” according to coach Blatt. They will play this game with just 10 healthy players.