The Kings have taken advantage of their recent easy stretch of the schedule to put together one of their best win streaks of the season, winning five of the last six. And the schedule gods have blessed them with another winnable game tonight, as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this week.
During the first matchup, Tyrese Haliburton set a career-high with 28 points in the 14-point win, as Sacramento took control in the third quarter. Since then, the Kings have won their next two games, one in a nail-biter and one in a rout. Their new starting lineup continues to excel in the process.
Of the five-man groups that have played at least 25 minutes together for Sacramento this season, only four have positive net ratings, and the new starters are the best at plus-14.3. Among lineups in the NBA that have played at least 100 minutes, the Fox-Halibuton-Hield-Barnes-Holmes groups ranks fifth.
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
When: Saturday, March 27 at 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Opposing perspective: Fear the Sword
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings (20-25): De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Tyrese Haliburton, Richaun Holmes
Cavaliers (17-28): Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Larry Nance Jr., Jarrett Allen
Kings: Marvin Bagley III (left-hand fracture), Jahmi’us Ramsey (right hamstring strain) — OUT
Cavaliers: Collin Sexton (right hamstring) — QUESTIONABLE; Matthew Dellavedova (appendectomy), Kevin Love (right calf), Taurean Prince (left shoulder) — OUT
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are on the second night of a back-to-back after getting blown out by the Lakers on Friday. They were without starting point guard Collin Sexton, but their offense was absolutely atrocious as they managed 86 points against a team without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. For comparison’s sake, the last time the Kings played the Lakers was under similar circumstances, and they put up 123 on the defending champs.
Suffice to say, this is a good opportunity for the Kings to extend their win streak and make up more ground in the play-in chase. Sacramento is only 1.5 games back of the Warriors for no. 10 in the West, and reinforcements in the form of Moe Harkless, Delon Wright, Terence Davis, and Chris Silva should be on the way shortly. The team’s biggest weakness (other than defense, obviously) has been its depth thus far, but having at least two more capable rotation players will help the Kings stay consistent.
Other than the motivation that comes from the playoff push, the Kings may simply be comfortable with the trade deadline behind as they settle in for the rest of the season. They can’t get too complacent, because we’ve seen how teams pile up points against Sacramento when the effort level diminishes, but the Kings are in a good spot right now, and they need to seize this game before the schedule once again takes a turn for the worse.