Cavaliers-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 14, 2013
Despite a splendid performance from Isaiah Thomas in the most recent game, the Sacramento Kings are on the verge of matching their longest losing streak of the season. A more favorable set of games might give them a chance to end their woes. The Kings will try to avoid a fifth straight defeat and a season high-tying fourth in a row at home Monday night when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers, losers in seven of nine. Three of Sacramento's past four opponents have sported winning records with Eastern Conference leader Miami the latest of those. The Heat dealt the Kings a 128-99 defeat Saturday in the third of their five consecutive games at Sleep Train Arena. "Obviously this game got away from us in the first quarter," coach Keith Smart said. "The game was over in the first five minutes for the most part." Sacramento (13-24) might have better luck during the conclusion of that homestand as it will welcome in two of the East's worst teams, Cleveland (9-30) and Washington. The Kings will try to take advantage of that matchup with the Cavaliers to avoid dropping five in a row for the third time this season. Sacramento's previous five-game skids were from Dec. 10-17 and Nov. 9-18, a streak during which the Kings also lost four in a row at home. To avoid matching those skids, Sacramento could use another spectacular effort from Thomas, who had career highs of 34 points and six 3-pointers in Saturday's loss. He also had 18 points in an overtime defeat to Dallas on Thursday after averaging 10.4 and shooting 39.0 percent in his first five games of 2013. Thomas had only eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in Cleveland on Jan. 2 but the Kings earned a 97-94 victory after John Salmons hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 52.9 seconds left. Jason Thompson had a team-best 19 points and 10 rebounds in that win, and DeMarcus Cousins also recorded a double-double with 18 points and 16 boards. Kyrie Irving scored 22 points for Cleveland, and Dion Waiters had 20. The two guards each had 15 points but only one other Cavaliers player had more than 10 in Sunday's 113-93 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Cleveland never recovered after allowing the Lakers to score 37 points in the opening quarter. "We just didn't have that fight in the first quarter, and it kind of killed us the rest of the game," Irving said. The Cavaliers have lost three straight on the road after winning three of four, but will face a team that's it has played competitively against while splitting the past four meetings. Those games have been decided by a combined 11 points, and the Cavaliers claimed a 93-92 win over the Kings on Feb. 19 when Irving made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left. The Cleveland point guard had a team-best 23 points in that game as did Thomas for Sacramento. Cleveland scored the final six points in its most recent visit to Sacramento on March 16, 2011, to pull out a 97-93 victory. The Cavaliers have won each of their last six road games against the Kings with two of those victories coming in overtime and another one being decided by two points.
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