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Preview: Kings at Cavaliers

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Paul Westphal is the coach of the Kings so you can't really bank on who is starting and who isn't, although Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins seem like locks.  Omri Casspi will start if Westphal retains the same line up as yesterday.  The Kings have no injuries at the moment, and Samuel Dalembert will probably see more time to get a bit of a rhythm going.  Hassan Whiteside and Pooh Jeter were the players left inactive yesterday.

The Cavaliers were without Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams yesterday, both starters, and went with a lineup of Ramon Sessions, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, J.J. Hickson and Ryan Hollins.  If Varejao (who was out for personal reasons) and Williams (sore groin) play, they'll replace Hollins and Sessions in the lineup respectively, although Williams might come off the bench due to the injury.


The Cavaliers stunned many pundits by beating the Celtics in their home opener, but then followed it up with an absolute dud against Toronto.  

J.J. Hickson is probably the best player on the team, a very athletic and skilled offensive player, although his defense and rebounding are suspect (remind you of anyone?).  Without Varejao in the lineup against Toronto, the Cavaliers were killed on the glass by 16, and that was TORONTO.  The Kings should win the battle of the boards tonight, and if they don't, they'll likely lose.

Cleveland features a couple good big men off the bench though in Leon Powe and Antawn Jamison.  Jamison is a crafty vet, still liable to go for 20 and 10 any given night, and he was perhaps the only bright spot for Cleveland against Toronto.  Powe is a great offensive rebounder and also good at scoring around the basket.

The interior defense of the Cavaliers is very suspect without Anderson Varejao (one of the better defenders in the league).  Should he play, he could give Cousins fits on that end of the court.  His backup, Ryan Hollins, is a shotblocker but that's about it.  The Kings should attack Cleveland's frontcourt often.

Ramon Sessions looks to have a bounce back year with the Cavs now that he's out of the constrains of Rambis's Triangle Offense, and he'll have the ball in his hands a lot.  Much like Tyreke, he likes to drive a lot, and you need to force him to shoot jumpers, because he's not good at them.  He's a decent distributor, but also a bit careless, as evidenced by his 9 turnovers in the first game.

The Kings will need to guard the perimeter well, as Cleveland features several good 3 point shooters in Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson, and Mo Williams if he plays.  Antawn Jamison can also hit the three consistently, especially if left open.


Landry vs. Hickson.  Both players excel at scoring efficiently.  Unlike Hickson, Landry won't have to carry the team however.  The Cavs will likely try to get Hickson going early, so the difference in defense between Hickson and Landry could mean the difference in the game.  In the Toronto game, Hickson only played 18 minutes due to foul trouble and being turnover prone, so you have to attack him on that end.  In the winner, he torched Boston for 21 points on 8-11 shooting.  That's Kevin Garnett he was going up against.


DeMarcus Cousins.  Cousins needs to watch his foul trouble, and against a team like Cleveland without a true post threat, he should have better luck in that category if he's careful.  Also, if Varejao doesn't play, the Cavaliers have absolutely nobody who can stop him.  This could be a breakout game for DeMarcus, so we'll see how it goes.


It's a 4:30 PM PT start on Comcast SportsNet and KHTK 1140 AM. There are free previews for League Pass and League Pass Broadband running through next Tuesday. Game thread at 4:30, second one 90 minutes later at 6:00.