The Cleveland Cavaliers look to survive and advance against the Sacramento Kings despite the lengthy list of injuries while integrating new players on the fly. The Kings have been inconsistent after the dismissal of coach Mike Malone, but still have the ability to play at a very high level if you catch them on the wrong night.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (19-18) at Sacramento Kings (15-21)
When? 9:00 pm EST
Where? Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Why? I said so.
Enemy blog: Sactown Royalty
Someday the Cavs will have everybody playing, I think.
Keys to the game
- The impact of Timofey Mozgov will hopefully be felt in a big way tonight. Demarcus Cousins is one of the most devastating offensive big men in the league. There's very few players who posses the size, strength and skill that he has. Mozgov will need to do a good job in denying him deep post position and minimizing his impact as much as possible.
- Defensively, the Cavs will basically be forced to pray that Rudy Gay decides to be lazy and settle for jump shots. Without LeBron James, Shawn Marion or Iman Shumpert, the team is missing it's three most capable wing defenders. Gay has been very good for the Kings after being traded from the Raptors last season. He has fantastic physical tolls and when he's engaged and aggressive, he can be tough to stop. Like Cousins, if the Cavs can keep him away from the rim it will increase their chances of winning considerably.
- Darren Collison has to guard Kyrie Irving. So that will be fun.
- Sacramento is one of the few teams with a worse defensive efficiency than the Cavs. Big games from Kevin Love and J.R. Smith would help reduce the load the defense will need to shoulder in order to get the win.
- The Cavs have hung around with some good teams recently, but faded late and ultimately collapsed. They'll need to find a way to be more consistent and get more production from their role players, as they have put far too much pressure on the starters over the last eight games.
Fear The Sword's fearless prediction:
I think the Cavs break out of their offensive slump in a big way. They'll be hungry to finally get back into the win column and feast on the Kings porous defense. Cavs win 105-92.