The Cavaliers looked flatter than ever agasint the short-handed Dallas Mavericks but managed to bounce back against a high-scoring Phoneix Suns offense. Tonight, they get to play one of the younger teams in the league in the surprising Sacramento Kings.
With one of the league’s best rookies in Tyreke Evans, the Kings have managed to play .500 ball without their leading scorer in Kevin Martin as well as key role player Francisco Garcia. Evans has done more than his share of stepping up by averaging more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists – something that only three other players in the NBA are currently accomplishing. Thankfully, for Cavaliers fans, one of those three is LeBron James. This one has the makings of another trap game that the Cavaliers have been prone to dropping, as the Kings are an amazing 10-3 at home. However, the Kings lack considerable size in their front court and could have some issues if Shaquille O’Neal and the rest of the Cavs post players are on their game.
Projected Starting Lineups
-G Mo Williams (16.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 16.56 PER)
-G Anthony Parker (7.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 9.79)
-F LeBron James (28.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 7.8 apg, 29.92 PER)
-F J.J. Hickson (7.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.2 apg, 13.71)
-C Shaquille O’Neal (10.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.4 apg, 15.18)
Key Reserves: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, Delonte West
Injuries: Leon Powe (out), Jamario Moon (questionable)
-G Tyreke Evans (20.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.0 apg, 18.68 PER)
-F Andres Nocioni (10.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg, 11.77 PER)
-F Jason Thompson (15.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 17.78 PER)
-F Omri Casspi (11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 15.57 PER)
-C Spencer Hawes (10.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 13.65 PER)
Key Reserves: Donte Green, Sergio Rodriguez, Ime Udoka, Beno Udrih
Injuries: Sean May (questionable), Kevin Martin (out), Francisco Garcia (out)
Team Efficiency Stats
- Offense (99.7 ppg, 41.4 rpg, 48.1 FG%, 20.9 apg, 14.5 topg, Eff: 107.0, Rank: 8)
- Defense (94.2 ppg, 39.2 rpg, 43.4 FG%, Eff: 100.1, Rank: 5)
- Offense (103.9 ppg, 42.5 rpg, 47.2 FG%, 20.5 apg, 15.6 topg, Eff: 106.0, Rank: 9)
- Defense (104.7 ppg, 41.6 rpg, 47.1 FG%, Eff: 107.4, Rank: 26)
March 28, 2010 in Cleveland
The Cavaliers are 10-3 in their last 13 games with an overall record of 8-3 against western conference opponents. Elias Sports tells us that no other team in the NBA has a better record against the opposing conference from the beginning of last season than the Cavaliers. Common knowledge tells us that this doesn’t matter when playing a team that can surprise you on any given night. Thankfully, the Cavaliers have had the Kings’ number over the years, winning each of the last six contests – four of which were held at Arco Arena. The last Kings win came in March of 2006, but these wins have not come easy. If you recall, the Kings took the Cavaliers into extra periods last season with a win coming thanks to 51 points from LeBron in a come-from-behind game for the ages.
This game will be a bit different with the ever-electric Evans leading the way. He paced the Kings to a huge come-back win over the Chicago Bulls just a few nights ago and is not shy of facing the stars of the NBA. Also a bit different this time around is the fact that the Kings, while not having a lot of depth at center, tend to run with three forwards on the floor which could pose a problem for Anthony Parker or Delonte West on the defensive end. A win for the Kings tonight would tie their home win total from all of last season – quite a feat considering that we are still in the month of December.
Mo Williams will have to be careful as to not get into a dual of sorts with Evans, who may or may not break out the “Big Balls Dance” once again. The key to this game will come down to the Cavaliers’ ability to work the post. As we saw when the Suns came to town – and even in the last game held in Phoenix – if the Cavaliers can establish a post presence early against a smaller team, they have been able to focus on high percentage shots while forcing the opposition to settle for more jumpers. We know that LeBron can score on the Kings, it’ll just be a matter of building off of the solid defensive efforts in Phoenix and making sure that the team doesn’t get back into the stand-around-dribble-dribble funk of a few games back. The Kings defense is among the worst in the league in terms of efficiency – let’s hope the Cavaliers can find a way to exploit this weakness.
From the Outside Looking In
Next Game for the Cavaliers
Friday, December 25 at Los Angeles Lakers
5:00 PM ET
WTAM 1100 AM, ABC/HD