GameDay Preview: Cavs at Kings

Dion Waiters
Rocky Winder/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold continue their road trip tonight in Sacramento against the Kings at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (13-23) enters tonight’s game winners of consecutive games after opening their road trip with a 113-102 win at Utah on Friday.

In that game, the Cavaliers shot 45-83 (.542) from the field and set season highs for points in a half (67 in 2nd Half) and points in a quarter (39 in 3rd Quarter).

Sacramento (12-22) also comes into Sunday's matchup having won two straight games after defeating the Orlando Magic 103-83 at Sleep Train Arena on Friday night.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Kings: PG - Isaiah Thomas, SG - Marcus Thorton, SF - Rudy Gay
PF - Jason Thompson, C - DeMarcus Cousins

Status Update: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Kings) - Carl Landry, (Tear, Left Hip Flexor Muscle, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Last time when the Cavs visited Sacramento on Jan. 14, 2013, Dion Waiters scored a career-high 33 points, the most ever by a Cavs rookie off the bench. Tristan Thompson recorded a double-double (17 points, 15 rebounds, four assists) and C.J. Miles added 17 points.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 53-54 against the Kings (34-20 Home, 19-33 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Ball Movement

Sacramento surrenders the third-highest scoring average at 104.3 points per game. If the Wine and Gold can make the Kings work on defense by moving the basketball, then the Cavaliers should get open looks at the basket.

Cleveland did a tremendous job of sharing the basketball on Friday as seven players (Irving-25, Thompson-18, Miles-17, Waiters-17, Jack-12, Deng-10, Zeller-10) scored in double figures.

Over the last two games, the Cavs are outscoring foes by an average of 14.4 points (112.0 to 97.6) and outshooting them .517 to .437.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

Both the Cavs and Kings have made big mid-season trades focused on their small forward positions. Cleveland got Luol Deng from Chicago while Sacramento acquired Rudy Gay in an early December trade with Toronto.

Since coming over to Sacramento, Gay is averaging 23.4 points while shooting 56.3 percent in helping the Kings win four of seven.

Joining Gay in the Kings frontcourt is third-year pro from Kentucky, DeMarcus Cousins.

In two games against the Cavs last season, Cousins averaged 22.0 points and 15.0 rebounds. On the season, Cousins is averaging a team-leading 23.5 points (.493 FG%, 0-6 3pt, .715 FT%), a team-high 11.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.91 steals, 1.03 blocks and 32.5 minutes while starting all 33 games he has played in.

Taking on the tasks of slowing down Cousins will be the Cavs frontcourt tandem of Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

Since the calendar turned to 2014, Thompson and Varejao are averaging a combined 26.4 rebounds per game (five games). On the season, Thompson (9.9) and Varejao (9.8) are pulling down 19.7 rebounds per game this season, which is the 2nd-highest for a rebounding duo in the Eastern Conference. On Friday in Utah, the duo combined for 29 boards.

As a team, the Cavaliers have outrebounded each of their last six opponents by an average margin of 11.2 rebounds per game (50.7 to 39.5).

In the two teams' last matchup, Cleveland pulled down 19 offensive rebounds leading to 33 second chance points.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 218

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs continue their road trip in Los Angeles as they square off against the Lakers on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.