The Cleveland Cavaliers are winners of 12 in a row and are showing no sign that they will slow down anytime soon. The Cavaliers will try to make it 13 straight when they host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Cleveland is settling on a rotation that works with Tristan Thompson (calf) and Iman Shumpert (knee) out, plus every team would look better with LeBron James on the roster and enjoying one of the most productive seasons of his career. James collected 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a 113-91 drubbing at Chicago on Monday while going 9-of-15 from the field to raise his shooting percentage to .584, which would mark the highest percentage of his illustrious career if he manages to sustain his current pace. The Kings are 29th in the NBA in scoring average at 95.7 points and are losers of eight of their last 12, but at least they managed to go over 100 points in back-to-back games. Sacramento squeezed out a 107-106 win at NBA-worst Chicago on Friday but fell 109-104 at Milwaukee the next night to drop to 1-1 on its four-game road trip.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCS California (Sacramento), FS Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE KINGS (7-16): Sacramento is trying to build around its younger players but continues to get its most consistent production from veteran power forward Zach Randolph. The 36-year-old is averaging 23.5 points on 22-of-34 shooting and 10 rebounds through the first two games of the trip and logged 34 minutes Saturday on the second night of a back-to-back despite beginning the game on the bench. Fellow veteran George Hill, 31, is having a more difficult time carving out a niche for himself on the young team and logged a season-low 18 minutes on Saturday while scoring in single digits for the third straight game.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (17-7): One player embracing a new role with Cleveland is All-Star Dwyane Wade, who agreed to come off the bench and lead the second unit after joining forces with his good friend James. Wade tied for the team lead in scoring with 24 points in 26 minutes on Monday and is averaging 19 points on 59.2 percent shooting over the last four contests. “I mean, he’s run a franchise before,” James told reporters of Wade. “He’s ran units before. There’s not one situation that he hasn’t been in, so it’s a luxury for our team to be able to have him to come off our bench and be able to lead that group. The way he’s playing right now, he’s just in a great groove. And you guys know me, I’m extremely happy to have him.”
1. Kings C Willie Cauley-Stein left Saturday’s game with a back strain and is day-to-day.
2. Cavaliers PF Kevin Love recorded a double-double in each of the last three games and eight of 12 during the winning streak.
3. Sacramento earned a 116-112 win in its trip to Cleveland last season as since-departed veterans DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison combined for 51 points.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 122, Kings 98