While the Cleveland Cavaliers have stumbled coming out of the gate after the All-Star break, their short-term fortunes have turned around after winning two out of their last three games with wins against the playoff-bound Boston Celtics and the surprisingly struggling Toronto Raptors.
In both of those wins, and even in the loss to the San Antonio Spurs last Friday, the Cavs were led by both of their young guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland who scored a career-high 29 points in the loss to the Spurs.
The Cavaliers now turn their sights to Monday night’s matchup against the Sacramento Kings (17-25) for a chance at two consecutive wins for the first time in almost a month.
How to watch:
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Go and NBA League Pass
With Kevin Love still working his way back to full health, look for the Cavaliers to run the same lineup it usually employs post-Andre Drummond shutdown.
Darius Garland/Collin Sexton/Isaac Okoro/Larry Nance Jr./Jarrett Allen
The Kings will still be without Marvin Bagley III after he fractured his hand in a game against the Charlotte Hornets last week. Their last three games have featured a new lineup that has resulted in two wins, so expect for this same combination to get starting honors.
De’Aaron Fox/Tyrese Haliburton/Buddy Hield/Harrison Barnes/Richaun Holmes
Things to Watch for:
Guard-centric basketball: Guard play for the Cavs have been the leading source of success as of late and with two scoring guards in the Kings lineup as well, expect the small guys to be the primary source of offense for both teams. Over the last three games, Garland and Sexton are averaging a combined 54.3/8.0/10.7 while shooting 51.4% from the field.
Continued success for Allen: With Bagley missing, Holmes is the only player listed above 6’8” in the starting lineup for the Kings. Hassan Whiteside has seen better days as he is now a bench player and played in only 15 minutes in the Kings last game, a 129-105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Allen has averaged 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game since joining the team, so expect nothing less come Monday night.
Mysterious third player: Yes, the Cavs are led by their young guards, but in any given game there has usually been a third and/or fourth player that has helped propel the team to a win. During the team’s win against the Raptors, it was Allen’s 17 points and 15 rebounds as well as Dean Wade and his 16 points in 18 minutes. Even in the team’s loss to the Spurs, it was Lamar Stevens with a 15 point, 11 rebound outing in just 17 minutes. Keep an eye out for another productive outing from Wade, Stevens or even Dylan Windler because you never know who it might be.