Kings-Cavaliers Preview

The Associated Press

The Cleveland Cavaliers' longest homestand of the season is not going the way the team had hoped.

A visit from the lowly Sacramento Kings could help turn things around.

The Cavaliers look to bounce back from a loss to their former superstar's current team and hand the Kings a fifth consecutive defeat Sunday night.

While Cleveland (11-17) is eight wins shy of matching its entire win total from last season, the Cavaliers still do not seem to be a serious playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. One reason could be their disappointing 6-8 record at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavaliers fell to 2-3 on their nine-game homestand after LeBron James scored 28 points to lead Miami to a 111-87 win Friday in his third game in Cleveland since leaving for the Heat in 2010. Cleveland trailed 35-14 after one quarter and shot 39.5 percent for the game.

"We looked like we were frightened,'' said Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, whose team has averaged 89.7 points on 40.9 percent while losing two of the last three during the home stretch.

Thankfully for Scott's club, Sacramento (10-20) has not frightened many opponents while going 3-15 on the road. The Kings have allowed an average of 111.7 points on 49.6 percent in losses to Chicago, New York and Detroit to open their six-game trip.

However, Scott hopes his squad will not underestimate a Sacramento team that has lost nine of 10 to the Cavaliers. The Kings' lone victory during that span came when they snapped a four-game skid at Cleveland with a 107-104 win Oct. 30, 2010.

"As much as we're saying this is a game we can win, they are saying the same thing," Scott told the Cavaliers' official website. "(The Kings) are very dangerous, it's no doubt that they can score."

DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points with 15 rebounds while Marcus Thornton scored 24 as Sacramento fell 114-108 at Detroit on Friday despite leading by seven after one quarter and going 43 of 86 from the field on the night.

"That was tough, man,'' said guard Tyreke Evans, who had 16 points, nine assists and six rebounds. "We have to learn to clean our game and close teams out. That's what good teams do.''

Cousins, who totaled just 25 points but pulled down 26 rebounds in two games against the Cavaliers last season as a rookie, has averaged 23.8 and 11.3 boards in the last four contests overall.

Thornton has averaged 26.7 points on 31 of 61 from the field in three career games versus Cleveland.

The Kings will get their first look at Cleveland's star rookie Kyrie Irving, who is averaging 18.2 points and 5.0 assists. The No. 1 overall pick last summer had 17 points Friday in his second game back since missing three with a concussion.

Cleveland also hopes to have guard Daniel Gibson on the floor after he missed Friday's loss with a sprained ankle. The Cavaliers will not have swingman Anthony Parker, who will sit out his 10th consecutive game because of back spasms.

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