After coming back from an 18 point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, the Kings will now have to follow that performance with one against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Currently owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference and employers of the best basketball player on planet Earth, the Cavaliers have struggled of late on their tour of the Western Conference; struggling to finish off Phoenix before beating them by four, a loss to the Jazz by eight and another loss at the hands of the Trail Blazers by sixteen. After Friday night’s game at the Golden 1 Center, The Cavs will then leave Sacramento to take on their NBA Finals rivals, the Golden State Warriors, and so in a very special instance, the Kings themselves have the opportunity of hosting a dreaded Trap Game. Will the Kings jump on the King early? Can Kevin Love get over his post Sea Bass incident shooting woes? Are we all doomed in the impending Sacramento River floods? No really because it is bank to- Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Friday, January 13th, 7:30 pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA, KTHK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration:
Reign from Deep: I should just put that gif of the gentleman in the tophat beating a dead horse up here, because every game the very first thing the Kings should be focusing in on is absolutely the same thing. I’ve written it a hundred different ways, and we’ve seen it break down a thousand times, but the Kings need to defend the hell out of the three point line tonight. The Cavaliers attempt the second most three pointers in the league, and make them at the third highest percentage. So in a reasonable world where Mike D’Antoni’s three point hydra in Houston doesn’t exist, the Cavs would be the next freaks up, while actually shooting a high percentage from three than the Rockets this year. The Kings have to guard the three point line tonight. The whole night. They can’t let someone like DeAndre Liggins go off for 4 or 5 three balls tonight. Looking at the Cavs they currently have eight deep ball shooters who make better than 36% from three, and it would have been nine, but they moved Mike Dunleavy for some guy named Kyle Korver. Oh no wait, Kyle shot 40% from deep with the Cavs. Sacramento, guard the three point line! To continue, these aren’t a bunch of scrubs filling the ranks with two threes made on four attempts. The only players in the Cavaliers top 10 in minutes played that can’t shoot over 36% from deep: Tristan Thompson who’s gone 0-2 this season, and Richard Jefferson who’s at 29%. That’s it. Houston deservedly gets the hype, but Cleveland is absolutely no joke, so once more for the people in the back: Sacramento, guard the three point line!
Kings Focus: If the Kings can find a way to mitigate the three point barrage, the Kings will have their opportunities to make this game close. The Cavs are in the bottom third in the league in rebounding, and while the Kings are literally the second worst rebounding team in the entire league, getting Tristan Thompson into foul trouble early would open a window to switch it up on the boards for the night. The Cavs are a small team. I mean, they have Channing Fry, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson as their only true big guys, and the only three that are taller than 6’9. Attacking inside and getting one or two of them in foul trouble would absolutely help the Kings cause. This is where I get to tell you that the Cavs foul less than all but two other teams in the league. The Cavs allow their opponents to shoot 36% from behind the arc and allow the 18th most three pointers, so there’s always the chance that a couple of our guys get hot and we turn it into a shooting match. With the shooting talent of Cleveland, the Kings will really, really have to catch fire, but stranger things have happened right?
Prediction: The Kings won’t guard the three point line, and as they trade twos for threes, a hole will open up early. Due to foul trouble, the Cavs will have to start putting LeBron James on DeMarcus in the second half, which eventually leads to your staple Sacramento Kings second half comeback. Coming down the stretch, the game will be tight and Lebron will come flying towards the rim only to have DeMarcus parked there, ready to draw a charge. The Kings will translate that bit of fortune into taking the lead, and the Kings will shock that wannabe from Cleveland:
Kings: 106, Cavs: 102