December 6, 2017, 2:32 pm
The Kings are in Cleveland looking to snap the Cavs’ 12-game winning streak.
Without Willie Cauley-Stein, one of the Kings’ top defenders, life may be difficult down low. Zach Randolph will be called upon to lead the way for Sacramento per usual, while Kosta Koufos, JaKarr Sampson and even Georgios Papagiannis may be required to play some extra minutes.
The frontcourt unit is going to have to step up as a whole with Cauley-Stein ruled out for the next two games. Joerger deployed Sampson against the Bucks due to his ability to defend multiple positions and the energy he brings. So he’s a guy that you can expect to get some burn.
Jack Cooley is also with the Kings and could be used if the Kings have trouble with matchups. It’s possible they go small too so Joerger has a few options.
Since starting 5-7 with many media personnel and fans around the league writing them off, the Cavs have rattled off 12 straight wins in impressive fashion. They’re starting to play like the team everyone predicted them to be and they’re still waiting on the return of Isaiah Thomas.
The Cavs present all kinds of matchup issues for the Kings. Kevin Love is going to be a nightmare to guard as Sacramento has shown a tendency to really struggle guarding perimeter orientated big men. Randolph is going to have to work extra hard but you can already tell it won’t be pretty.
That’s where someone like Samspon comes in. He’s the Kings’ best option for defending a guy like Love so him playing close to 30 minutes tonight wouldn’t be surprising.
Obviously LeBron James presents some concern too. Garrett Temple would seem like the best option to defend LeBron but his lack of height could hurt. It could be another case similar to that of playing the Bucks when the Kings had no chance to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo, they just had to let him ride.
It’s going to be a great test for the Kings who are 4-6 in their last 10 games, and playing with a bit more cohesion as of late. Keeping things as simple as possible and forcing the Cavs inside the 3-point line will be key.
PG – George Hill
SG – De’Aaron Fox
SF – Garrett Temple
PF – JaKarr Sampson
C – Zach Randolph
Willie Cauley-Stein (back) – OUT
Harry Giles (knee) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
Where: NBCS California
When: 4:00 p.m. PST (7:00 EST)