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GAME 18/82: vs. Cleveland, Open Game Thread

Remember a couple seasons ago, when LeBron played his first official NBA game in ARCO? Exciting moment. I remember a collective feeling of "Wow, I love this guy. I hope he scores 40, but the Kings win going away."

It's different tonight. I hope LBJ gets his fibia snapped in half by a drunken Brad Miller, summoning up Shooter Flatch and screaming "I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever invented!" In other words, LeBron SchmeBron.

To be less macabre - I just want to see this team do whatever it takes to win. That includes (shock!) rebounding, (shock!) playing defense and (shock!) running at least a semi-conscious offense. If it takes dehabilitating LeBron James, so be it. If it takes punching a referee, so be it. If it takes playing your starters when you're within eight with more than five minutes to go even though they've pissed you off, so be it.

Sunday's game could have been won, but it seemed no one on the Kings was acting like that. Not the coach, not the starters, not the bench, not Jerry Reynolds. Where's the fire?

I know we're used to the "soft" title here in Sacramento. But hell - a tiny little spark of do-or-die mentality could go a long way. I know it's December, but you might want to prove you belong in the upper echelon before you cement your status at the bottom.

Last place is never acceptable, not with this payroll, not with these ticket prices and not with these players. Wins must come or heads must roll. There's no other option.

So, um... your projected starting lineups!

CLEVELAND
PG - Eric Snow
SG - Larry Hughes
SF - Some dude.
PF - Drewsky Gooden
C  - Zydsknfgbus Ilgokfjshgfus

SACTOWN
PG - Mike Bibby
SG - Bonzi Wells
SF - Peja Stojakovic
PF - Shareef Abdur-Rahim
C  - Brad Miller

(Yeah, that's right. You play like shit, you get no jokey nickname. It's time to play hardball, suckers.)

The line: +2. It might as well be even, because either the Kings will win narrowly or they'll lose by more than a handful. They should've lost Sunday's game by 30, and I'm positive Cleveland is much better than Minnesota (especially Minnesota-with-Garnett-playing-like-crap).

Fun bet o' the night: Number of good offensive possessions for the Kings before Grant Napear exclaims "The offense is back, baby!"

Sideshow most likely to be entertaining: Corliss and Skinner itching to get off the bench. I can't imagine these guys get more than 10 total minutes. Can you?

Best matchup: Gooden vs. Shareef. Drew is one of those active guys who might be able to defend Reef well. And on offense, Drew might be able to draw Reef out. KT should get some minutes here if Gooden is confounding the Reefer.

Pregame haiku (with added sarcasm!):

Three in a row? Crap.
And this was the easy stretch?
Can't wait for road trip.

Can the Boo Birds of Sactown rival their cousins in Philly, who are nursing very sore throats tonight?

I really hope they don't have reason to.

Let's at least try Kings! A's for effort!