The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped the opener of a three-game road swing and look to get back on the winning side of the ledger when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Cleveland suffered a 99-92 setback against the Golden State Warriors in Monday’s highly anticipated Christmas Day showdown to start an excursion that concludes with Saturday’s game at Utah.
The Cavaliers put a lot of effort into the contest against the Warriors in the rematch of teams that have met in each of the past three NBA Finals. Cleveland’s 31.8 percent shooting percentage was the lowest of the season by a Warriors’ opponent and star forward LeBron James had a subpar performance (7-of-18 shooting for 20 points). The Cavaliers look to get well against a Sacramento squad that was highly suspect defensively in Tuesday’s 122-95 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Kings are opening a six-game homestand but are only 5-8 at the Golden 1 Center.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cleveland), NBCSN California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (24-10): James has scored at least 20 points in 17 consecutive games but Monday’s outing marked just the third time all season that he shot less than 40 percent from the field. While James was off his game, center Kevin Love was stellar with 31 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for his third 30-point performance of the campaign. Love knocked down a season-best six 3-pointers and has made at least four in six of the past seven contests.
ABOUT THE KINGS (11-22): Sacramento allowed 71 first-half points against the Clippers and coach Dave Joerger was disappointed in his young club’s effort. “The level of focus, and being ready to go and being experienced in preparation and taking it out (onto the court), a lot of these guys are learning these things on the fly,” Kings coach Dave Joerger told reporters. “We’ve been making a lot of strides but (we) took a step back.” Sacramento badly misses impressive rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox (quadriceps), who will miss approximately two more weeks.
1. The Cavaliers have won five of the past six meetings, including a 101-95 home win on Dec. 6.
2. Sacramento C Willie-Cauley Stein is averaging 17.3 points (on 23-of-37 shooting) and nine rebounds over the past three games.
3. Cleveland has made 10 or more 3-pointers in a franchise-record 23 straight games — the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 106, Kings 93