Game 38: Cavs at Kings
Sleep Train Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: NBA TV, Fox Sports Ohio
1. Well, at least it wasn't as bad as the last time the Cavs made a visit to Sacramento. They lost to the Kings on Jan. 12, 2014, 124-80. Forty-four-point losses don't come down the pike very often.
2. The Cavs were playing without All-Star forward LeBron James, but no one is going to use that as an excuse for going through the motions. They should feel embarrassed, and so should the coaching staff. There's obviously a disconnect here. GM David Griffin can stand up in front of the media all he wants. Something is messed up with this team.
3. Sure, this team hasn't had its entire cast in place for weeks. So, everything is going to fall in place as soon as James returns to the court? His presence will cure everything that ails this team? Sorry, but it won't.
4. The Kings weren't exactly on a roll heading into this game. They've been having their share of problems since firing Coach Mike Malone and replaced him with Tyrone Corbin. But against the Cavs, they simply did whatever they wanted to do on the court. The announcers said it reminded them of target practice.
5. The Cavs have now lost five in a row. They have dropped to .500 at 19-19. More importantly, they dropped behind Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference playoff race and in the Central Division. The Cavs are sixth in the East and third in the division. What an absolute joke.
6. They are 0-2 on the current five-game West Coast trip. Their next loss, er, game, will be in Phoenix on Tuesday.
7. They put up little or no resistance against Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. All were game highs. Cousins had a ridiculous plus/minus ratio of +31 in the game. Of course, he came into the game averaging 23.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks this season. He has 21 double-doubles this season, including 17 in the last 19 games.
8. Newcomer Timofey Mozgov was given the task of slowing down "Boogie." He didn't do a very good job, other than blocking one of Cousins' dunk attempts. Mozgov, though, finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in his first start with the Cavs. He looks like a keeper. In two games with the Cavs, he's averaging 12.5 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
9. James has missed the last seven games - eight on the season - with the strained lower back and left knee. The Cavs haven't figured out a way to win consistently without him. He is inching closer and closer to returning to the lineup. It appears now that he could return for Phoenix on Tuesday. If not against the Suns, then he could come back at the Staples Center on Thursday vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. The sooner the better. His presence is needed in the lineup in the worst way. This season is slowly slipping away. The Cavs are 1-7 in games he's missed this season.
10. Forward Shawn Marion (strained hip) and guard Iman Shumpert (dislocated shoulder) also missed the Kings glame. It appears as if Marion needs another couple days. He will play backup minutes at small forward and power forward when he returns. Shumpert will miss at least another week and maybe more.
11. The Kings are missing some key personnel off their bench, too, including former Cavs Omri Casspi (left knee bone contusion) and Ramon Sessions (lower back strain). Guard Eric Moreland (labrum surgery) is also sidelined.
12. Kings forward Rudy Gay, 15th in the NBA in scoring at 20.7 per game, fired in 23 points and made 9 of 14 from the field.
UP NEXT: at Phoenix, U.S. Airways Center, 9 p.m. Tuesday
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. DeMarcus Cousins (6-11, 270)
Kings - F Omri Casspi, G Ramon Sessions, G Eric Moreland