Cleveland is in last place with a record of 12-53, and a road record of 4-28. They’ve won 3 of their last 10 games, and surprisingly 2 of those wins have come against Carmelo Anthony and the new look Knicks. The third win which came before the trade deadline was even more surprising since it came against the Lakers 104-99, behind 32 pts by Ramon Session on 9-16 field, 13-14 from the FT line and 8 assists.
Back on Oct. 30th, the Kings won 107-104 in Quicken Loans Arena. Beno, Tyreke, DeMarcus, Landry and Omri started for the Kings with Sammy, JT, Cisco and Luther coming off the bench. The Kings shot 52% from the field and 9-15 (60%) from 3pt range. The Kings were 18-24 (75%) from the FT line but were outscored at the charity stripe by 2 with Cleveland making 20 of 29 (69%). The Kings won both the offensive and defensive boards led by DeMarcus who had 10 rebs to go along with his 14pts; it was DeMarcus’ first double double of his NBA career. All the Kings starters scored in double figures led by Evans with 21 and Casspi with 20.
Cleveland’s leading scorers were Ramon Session with 21 and Daniel Gibson scoring 20 and 7 assists. In the 3rd quarter the Kings outscored the Mavs 31-15 to turn a 67-53 halftime deficit into a 84-82 lead going into the fourth. Leading 94-93, Carl Landry hit a jumper, Cousins made two free throws, Casspi made a 3-pointer and Evans converted a layup to finish a 9-0 run that give the Kings a 103-93 lead. But with 5.9 seconds left Cleveland cut the lead to 3; 106-103. Then after Casspi missed two free throws, Cleveland called timeout and advanced the ball to midcourt. Leading by 3 the Kings intentionally fouled Jawad Williams, who made the first free throw and missed the second intentionally. DeMarcus Cousins was fouled rebounding the miss and went to the other end to shoot 2 of his own and made one of two. But, with only 2.0 seconds left, and down by 3 Daniel Gibson could only throw up a prayer from half court which wasn’t answered and the Kings walked away with the win.
At the trade deadline the Cavs acquired Baron Davis from the L.A. Clippers in exchange for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. Davis has averaged 18.0 points and 5.7 assists in three games off the bench since being acquired from the Clippers. But, Davis has missed the last 2 games following the death of his grandmother whose memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday in LA. He could possibly join the team for Wednesday’s game against the Kings, but more than likely will wait until Thursday in Portland.
Cleveland also acquired Semih Erden and Luke Harangody from Boston in exchange for a 2013 second round pick. Erden, a 6-11 center out of Turkey, has seen action in only 1 game; March 6th against the Hornets. He played 11 minutes with 0 pts on 0-3 shooting and had 5 rebounds and 1 block. Harangody has averaged 15.8 mpg in 4 games with Cleveland. He’s averaging 6.8 pts / 2.8 rebs on 34.6% field and 18% from 3-pt range.
The Cav’s will probably start Alonzo Gee a 6-6 SF. Gee went undrafted in 2009, and signed with Washington. He was signed in late December by Cleveland as a FA. Gee has started all 6 games in March and is averaging 8.7 pts/ 4.3 rebs on 42.9% field and 22.2% from three. Rookie Samardo Samuels a 6-9 260 lb. PF out of Louisville has started 6 games all in March. He’s averaging 14 pts/ 8 rebs in 30 mpg on 47% field but only shoots 60% from the FT line. With Anderson Varejao out the rest of the season with a torn ankle tendon, 6-9 240 lb. PF J.J. Hickson has started the last 29 games at Center and has averaged 14.8 pts/ 10.8 rebs in just under 31.5 mpg.
As far as the backcourt, Anthony Parker the 6-6 eight year pro has started all but 7 games for the Cavs and is averaging 9 pts/ 3 rebs/ 3 asts in just under 30 mpg. He’s shooting 41% field and 40% from three. Ramon Sessions’ numbers are down a little since February due to reduce minutes with the acquisition of Davis, but in the last 10 games Ramon has averaged 15.6 pts/ 6.4 asts/ 3.5 rebs in 31 mpg. He’s only shooting 40% from the field and has only attempted 5 threes although he did make 3 of them.
Coach Scott is going with a deep rotation trying to give all his young players minutes. So, you might see a 10-11 man rotation with the reserves getting almost as many minutes as his starters. Off the bench Ryan Hollins will see minutes at Center, Daniel Gibson is the backup PG, 6-5 Rookie Christian Eyenga could see some minutes at the 2 & 3, and Joey Graham and Harangody will see minutes on the front line.
"I'm really starting to question what type of heart we have as a basketball team. That's my biggest question. Do we have enough guys who have enough heart to go out and compete? Did I see anything that I liked? No, not really."
With Jamison out for 5 weeks with a fractured finger, Varejao out for the season and Mo Williams traded, the Cavs have no veteran leadership. They’re not playing as a team and seem to have trust issues or maybe they’re just trying to pump up their stats looking for a rotation spot for next year. Either way the Cavs have the worse Def Eff in the NBA at 110 per game, and they’re the 3rd worst offensively at 99.3. They are 2nd to last in Total Rebounding Rate, and are tied with the Kings for the 4th worst TS%. They are also about 1% better than the Kings in 3P% and FT%.
This is a team desperate for a win, and since they’ve beaten the Lakers and the Knicks recently, the Kings better not overlook them. But, with our size advantage down low, the Kings should dominate the boards and that’s going to create 2nd chance points and fast break points. If the Kings jump out to a good start like they have in the last few games, the Cavs don’t have the 3pt shooter that can get them back in the game like the Golden State Warriors did. With Cleveland’s undersized SF lineup, I think Cisco and Omri could have a great game. I hope a lot of people come out to the game for the Green Beer and Corned Beef because I think this could be an enjoyable game. For now, the only question is can the Kings beat Philly and Minny on Friday and Sunday for their first 4 game winning streak of the season. Win one for the Irish, Sacramento.