Just one day after a devastating last-second loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Sacramento Kings are back on the court again Saturday to face off with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs are coming off of a resounding 123-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, and have been one of the best stories in the NBA so far this season. Thanks to leaps in from production from Darius Garland and the stellar big man combination of Jarrett Allen and rookie of the year favorite Evan Mobley, the Cavs are 15-12 and have transformed from cellar dweller to good team in a matter of months
Even despite losing their best player from last season, Collin Sexton for the season with a torn meniscus, the Cavs have kept it pushing. That aforementioned starting frontline of Mobley and Allen has made the Cavs one of the best defensive teams in the league, boasting the fourth-best defensive rating in the entire NBA. For that reason, it may be tough sledding for the Kings around the basket tonight.
Additionally, Sacramento also always seem to have trouble guarding shifty point guards, so I’d expect Darius Garland to have a strong performance.
The Kings lost to a Hornets team that was down seven players, in a truly demoralizing fashion, with De’Aaron Fox missing two consecutive free throws, which could have given Sacramento the win. Maybe, getting back on the court a day later can help the Kings move on, but the possibility also exists that the
Fox’s misses from the stripe will make people forget that he was outstanding Friday night, scoring 31 points on an efficient 11 for 17 from the floor. With the Mobley and Allen frontline building a wall around the paint it will be interesting to see if Fox can still flourish.
The last time these two teams played was in March of last season when Harrison Barnes hit a memorable buzzer-beating three to give the Kings the win. This is a different and much-improved Cavs team from that game last season, so the Kings will likely need to be on their A-game to steal a win in Cleveland on Saturday.
How to Watch/Listen: NBC Sports California, Sports 1140 KHTK
Opposing Perspective: Fear The Sword
Spread: Cavaliers -6.5
Moneyline: Cavaliers -250, Kings +200
SAC injuries/absences: Richaun Holmes - Out (Eye)
CLE injuries/absences: Collin Sexton - Out (Knee), Dylan Winder - Out