Kings vs. Cavaliers preview: The problem with 3 p.m. Sunday games during football season

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Expect light attendance for a dicey match-up during the NFL playoffs.

Luckily for the Kings, who face the Cavaliers at 3 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, the Niners play the early game against the Panthers. With a 10 a.m. start, that game should be over by 1:30 p.m. Pacific. That would give the most diehard Niners and Kings fans time to make it out to Sleep Train Arena.

It's reality, that's not totally likely to happen for many folks. The 3 p.m. starts have been a problem all season. They are obviously aimed at bringing families into the gym, and that's a great target. And the Cavaliers aren't going to draw any day of the week. But knowing that at least one local NFL team is likely to be playing in January, I just don't understand the interest in an early game. If the Niners have been a little better this season, they might have been at home with a 1 p.m. start that made even watching both games on TV impossible.

And that's my rant for the day.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Rudy Gay vs. Luol Deng

Deng is one of the premier small forward defenders in the league. Gay has been scoring frequently and efficiently. This could be quite a battle!

3 THINGS

1. That defense against the Magic was quite good. It wasn't lucky bounces, either: the Kings seemed to execute the plan consistently. Like Orlando, Cleveland has a horrible offense, No. 26 in the NBA this season. I hope the Kings have another strong defensive performance in them.

2. The second quarter! The Kings have been doing pretty well when the full second unit comes in, as Jimmer Fredette and Derrick Williams are scoring well, Gay is taking some pressure off by initiating the offense, and Aaron Gray is offering up brief respite. The team struggled to adjust to Isaiah Thomas getting into the starting five, but it might finally be happening.

3. In the never-ending debates over DeMarcus Cousins' worth, assess your feeling when he exits the game. Relief or worry? If you say "relief" and you're not hoping for a loss and he's not having one of those increasingly rare disasters of a game, then I think you might be being honest with yourself.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Deng, they traded him?
Bulls gave up on the season.
Can't have our pick ... yet.

PREDICTION

Kings 136, Cavs 133.

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