GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Kings

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DeMarcus Cousins, Tristan Thompson
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (7-25) are back at Quicken Loans Arena to take on the Sacramento Kings (11-20) for the first of two regular season games. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Both teams look to bounce back from road losses in their last game as the Wine and Gold dropped a nail-biter in Brooklyn while the Kings were defeated by the Detroit Pistons.

In the loss against the Nets, C.J. Miles became the first player in Cavaliers history to make eight triples off the bench after nailing 8-10 (.800) shots from behind the three-point line and finishing with a season-high 33 points on 11-15 (.733) shooting in 34 minutes.

Sacramento is led by their man in the middle, DeMarcus Cousins. In their last outing, the third-year pro recorded his 11th double-double of the season with a game-high 21 points and a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with two assists and three steals. On the season, Cousins is averaging 16.5 points and 9.7 rebounds.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Kings: PG - Isiah Thomas, SG - Francisco Garcia, SF - John Salmons
PF - Jason Thompson, C - DeMarcus Cousins

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Right Knee Contusion, Out), Daniel Gibson, (Concussion, Out)
(Kings) - Tyreke Evans (Sore Left Knee, Day-to-Day), Marcus Thornton (Sprained Left Ankle, Day-to-Day)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers lead the all-time series against the Kings, 53-52, posting a 34-19 mark in games played at home and a 19-32 record while playing in the Kings home arena. Furthermore, Cleveland has won 10 of the last 11 games against Sacramento, which includes a 5-1 mark at The Q.

The two teams only met once last season (Feb. 19, 2012) when Kyrie Irving nailed a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to give the Cavs a 93-92 edge over the Kings. Irving finished the game with 23 points in 39 minutes, while Tristan Thompson came off the bench to record his first career double-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in 30 minutes.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Forcing Tough Shots

Defensive pressure is always a top priority in head coach Byron Scott's gameplan, and if the Cavaliers can force the Kings into tough shots, they give themselves a good chance of winning.

On the road this season, Sacramento is shooting a mere 40 percent from the field, and in games where they shoot 50 percent or less, the Kings have a record of 6-19.

Key Matchup

Cavs bigs vs. DeMarcus Cousins

As mentioned, DeMarcus Cousins is Sacramento's biggest threat, and with Anderson Varejao's status for tonight still in question, the Wine and Gold will need the consistent play of Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller to continue.

After notching a season-high 17 points and a season-high tying 15 rebounds (nine offensive) in the Cavs last game, Thompson now has 10 double-doubles this season which is already more than his double-double total during his rookie campaign (9). Furthermore, Thompson has recorded five double-doubles in his last six contests and is averaging 12.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 36.5 minutes per game over that stretch.

Tyler Zeller continues to put up solid numbers, and in each of the last six games (all starts), is averaging 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 34.3 minutes over that stretch.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 220, Sirius 132, NBA League Pass Audio