Game of the Night: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Sacramento Kings

Tonight’s options for Game of the Night were a little limited since there were only three games on the NBA schedule. The Minnesota/San Antonio game looks tasty, but it might be a little too predictable. Kevin Love will put up huge numbers, Nikola Pekovic will look angry, and in the end the Spurs will most likely outclass the Timberwolves. I’m more intrigued by a Game of the Night option where both the end result of the contest and the direction of each team is a mystery. Right now there might not be two more mysterious teams than the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings.

Jan 7, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) smiles as a call is reviewed during the first quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t help but question the motives of two franchises that seem to be trying to get better when most people would say shouldn’t be trying to get better. There are so many question marks and unknowns in the NBA, but I feel as though one thing I can say with great confidence is that neither the Kings or Cavaliers are in position to be a true contender this year. Going further, there isn’t a realistic move that either team could make that would make them a contender this year. However, both the Kings and Cavaliers opted to make moves that would seem to make them marginally better. This is probably confusing you, so let me simplify this: Marginally better than really bad is just about the worst place you could be in the NBA. Oddly enough, this where the Kings and Cavaliers both sit; on pace for thirty-ish wins, not quite good enough to land a high lottery pick and nowhere near being considered a real threat in the playoffs, or in the case of the Kings, nowhere near being a playoff team.

The match-up to watch in this game is between the newest members of each team. Sacramento and Cleveland each began the season with gaping holes at the small forward position, and have since upgraded by curious trades to Rudy Gay and Luol Deng respectively. As much as I would love to rip apart the Rudy Gay acquisition, he’s fit in well in Sacramento, shooting a surprising 51% from the field in his fourteen games there. We don’t have that kind of sample size to evaluate Luol Deng, but the numbers aren’t what Deng is supposed to bring to Cleveland. He’s supposed to bring hard work, toughness, professionalism, and hopefully a calming influence so Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters don’t maim each other.

The Pick: Sacramento 104, Cleveland 100

National TV: None

Local TV: FSOH (Cleveland) and CSAC (Sacramento)

Time: 6:00 p.m. EST