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Kings vs. Cavaliers Preview: Sacramento looks to succeed in another King's domain

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't look like the Kings will face LeBron James at all this season, but even without him, the Cavaliers are a very potent offensive team.  Besides, with how badly the Kings have been struggling as of late, they can't afford to take any team lightly, lest this losing streak extend to eight games. Today's action tips off at 4:30 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1. Cleveland has started to figure things out since the Kings last played him, although a large part of that has been LeBron James coming back healthy.  Now James is absent but even still, this Cavs team is dangerous, especially at home.  In Irving, Love (who is questionable to play) and even J.R. Smith, this Cleveland team can put points up on the board in a hurry.  The additions of Timofey Mozgov and Iman Shumpert has also strengthened their defense.  The fact that Sacramento manhandled them in their last matchup (which coincidentally was Sacramento's most recent win) will also be on their minds.

2. This Cavaliers team absolutely loves shooting three pointers, and they're good at it too.  The three point line has been anathema to the Kings this season, particularly in the previous two games where they've allowed a combined 34 three pointers made.  On the other side, Sacramento is terrible at making threes of their own.  To put it into perspective, Kyrie Irving went 11 of 19 from three in his 55 point performance the other night.  The Kings as a team have only made 11 threes in a game once this season, and it was on 29 attempts.

3. The third quarter has been another problem for Sacramento all season.  For whatever reason, the Kings have let team after team come out in the third quarter and get going, negating whatever positives the first half may have brought.  Against Toronto, we saw the Raptors drop 39 points in the quarter, creating a 17 point deficit that ended up being the deciding margin.  Against Golden State, the third was the quarter that Klay Thompson set NBA history in.  Sacramento has to do a better job of coming out of the locker room with energy.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Kyrie Irving vs. Darren Collison

In case you missed it, Kyrie Irving dropped an NBA season-high 55 points against the Portland Trail Blazers the other night, carrying the Cavaliers to a win even without LeBron James.  With James likely out again tonight, Irving will once more have to carry the load for Cleveland.  In Sacramento's blowout win over the LeBron-less Cavs earlier this month, Irving was a non-factor.  To win tonight, Darren Collison and the Kings will have to strive for a similar result and not allow him to get a hot hand and keep it going.

PREGAME LIMERICK

This day started out so dreary,
But the Commish has made me cheery!
Boogie to NYC,
oh, can it be?
Now let's win on the shores of Lake Erie!

PREDICTION

Kings 108, Cavaliers 93 after DeMarcus Cousins achieves basketball nirvana due to the euphoria of being named an All-Star.