A week after their first meeting of the 2020-21 NBA season, the Sacramento Kings host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday in hope of repeating their 119-105 victory last weekend. That win marked the start of a three-game winning streak for the Kings, led by De'Aaron Fox's scoring exploits.
Meanwhile, for the Cleveland Cavaliers, their season has continued to go backward recently and they have dropped seven of their last ten matchups. Although injuries have played a role in the Cavs' slide, their strong defensive displays from the start of the season have dried up.
Fixture: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Sacramento Kings Prediction - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Saturday, March 27th, 2021 11:00 PM ET. (Sunday, March 28th, 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Golden One Center, Sacramento, CA
Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
Living up to their standing as the league's third-worst 3rd quarter side, the Cleveland Cavaliers could only muster a lousy 10 points against the Lakers coming out of the locker room. For a side that struggles offensively, not having leading scorer Collin Sexton on the floor created an uphill battle as the Cavs fell to their seventh defeat in ten in LA.
Continuing their tough California road trip, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to have to tighten up defensively.
Over the past 10 matchups, the Cavs rank in the bottom third of teams for defensive rating and points conceded in the paint. Although Larry Nance Jr. and Jarrett Allen provided rim protection, Montrezl Harrell was able to bully his way to 24 points and 10 rebounds on Friday off the bench.
Key Player - Darius Garland
With no up-to-date information on Sexton's return, Darius Garland is going to have to put in a significantly better scoring display on Saturday if the Cleveland Cavaliers are to overcome the Sacramento Kings' strong offense.
In his sophomore year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Garland has formed a unique partnership with Sexton that will propel the franchise forward in years to come. Garland has improved his numbers across the board and increased his shooting percentages. More importantly, he has locked up defensively, lowering his defensive rating to 116 and grabs over a steal per matchup.
Although he managed only 14 points against the Lakers, Garland was averaging 21 points on fewer shots per game than his backcourt partner across the Cleveland Cavaliers' previous five matchups.
Cleveland Cavaliers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Darius Garland, Shooting Guard - Isaac Okoro, Power Forward - Larry Nance Jr., Small Forward - Cedi Osman, Center - Jarrett Allen
Sacramento Kings Preview
Despite their losing record, the Sacramento Kings have been enjoyable to watch this year, exemplified by their 141-point scoring night against the Warriors on Thursday. Although injuries have hindered their progress, the Sacramento Kings sit just three and a half games behind the Spurs in the West's 8th seed after their 3 wins this week.
Six Sacramento Kings players have averaged more than 13 points this season, led by De'Aaron Fox's 24.6ppg, which has pushed them up to 9th in the league for offensive efficiency.
The Sacramento Kings have also benefitted from yet another young talent showing early development in Tyrese Haliburton. Sacramento picked Haliburton at 12th in the 2020 NBA Draft and will consider the move a coup, as the guard is up for Rookie of the Year.
Key Player - De'Aaron Fox
De'Aaron Fox has been nothing short of electric for the Sacramento Kings in recent games. In their three wins this week, the point guard has averaged a stunning 37 points and ranks 1st in the league for scoring with 30.7 (across players that have played their team's last ten matchups.)
Not only has Fox been on fire since the All-Star break, but he is having a career-year in his 4th season with the Sacramento Kings. Fox is averaging personal bests in points, field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting, which has been aided by his 58.6% effectiveness from the field over the past five games.
Sacramento Kings Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - De'Aaron Fox, Shooting Guard - Tyrese Haliburton, Small Forward - Buddy Hield, Power Forward - Harrison Barnes, Center - Richaun Holmes
Cavs vs Kings Match Prediction
It is difficult to look past another Sacramento Kings win in this matchup. With homecourt advantage, momentum and a superior offense, the Kings will be looking for another comfortable performance in their pursuit of closing the gap in the West.
As for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they can only hope to contain Sacramento by improving on the defensive end. If Sexton is back in the fold, though, they will have a stronger chance at competing.
Where to watch the Cavs vs Kings Matchup
Fans can catch the game live on Fox Sports Ohio and on NBC Sports California. Otherwise, it will also be available with an NBA League Pass to watch at your discretion.