Game #29 Preview: Kings at Cavaliers

It's the homecoming of J.J. Hickson. It's Omri Casspi playing against his former team. It's me running out of interesting things about this game.

Song Of The Day: All Of The Lights - Kanye West


Tonight's Overview:

Sacramento Kings (10-20) at Cleveland Cavaliers (11-17)

After that gutless performance on Friday night against the Miami Heat, I'm not sure the Cavs can come out with something worse. Last game was pretty much as bad as it gets.

Man, for as much hype as last game had, this one probably has the direct inverse of that. Cavs-Kings....woo, get pumped! As I said in the intro, the biggest storyline is that J.J. Hickson and Casspi were traded for one another in the offseason and now we get to see which team is more disappointed by the trade. Casspi has been pretty bad thus far in wine and gold and Hickson has been downright terrible for Sacramento.

I assume most of you know that as a part of this trade, the Cavs got a protected first round pick from the Kings. In order for the Cavs to get this pick, however, the Kings have to make the playoffs this year. Sitting at 10-20 in the Western Conference, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it isn't likely. Hopefully the Kings can get their stuff together and make the playoffs soon so that the Cavaliers can add another draft pick to their rebuilding assets.

Despite their poor overall record, the Kings have some really solid young pieces. DeMarcus Cousins is possibly the frontrunner for Most Improved Player this year, having increased his PER by a whole 7 points from 14.5 to 21.6 this year. Cousins is just 21 years old, is incredibly skilled and averages a double-double at 16.6 points and 11.4 boards per game. He has character issues, but the talent is too abundant to ignore. Considering the dearth of centers in the NBA right now, Cousins could and should have multiple all star appearances in his future.

Tyreke Evans won the Rookie of the Year award in 09-10, but had a down year in 10-11 due to a nagging foot injury. He has brought his level of play back up and is now averaged 17-5-5. Evans is relatively enormous for a point guard at 6-foot-6 and will be a nightmare for Kyrie Irving to try to check. It might be wise to put Alonzo Gee on Reke if he really starts abusing Kyrie in the post.

Remember Jimmer Fredette? Just checking.

Key Matchup:

J.J. Hickson vs. Tristan Thompson

Duh. We'll get to see Hickson go up against the guy who replaced him. When the Cavs surprised everybody and took Tigger with the 4th pick in the draft, it was apparent that Hickson's time in Cleveland was done. He is set to be a free agent at the end of this year and the Cavs were not interested in signing him long term. They flipped him to the Kings for Casspi and the conditional draft pick and let Thompson take over. I've been pretty satisfied with what I've seen out of TT so far, but he obviously needs a lot of work to develop into the player we want him to be. It will be interesting to see the difference in styles between Hickson and Thompson.

Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:

I'd like to think that the Cavs will come out angry after their pathetic showing on Friday and simply run the Kings out of the building - however - I don't see it for some reason. I have a sneaking suspicion that the loss to Miami may linger for a little while and allow the Kings to pull off a road win. Cavs lose by a score of 96-89.

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