NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 28th (All times eastern)
Sacramento Kings (24-49) at Cleveland Cavaliers (57-16), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Cavaliers continue their march toward the postseason Sunday when the open up a three-game homestand against the lottery- bound Sacramento Kings.
The Cavs, who have the NBA's best record and lead the Eastern Conference by six games over Orlando with nine games to play, just finished up a two-game road trip in losing fashion on Friday in San Antonio when Manu Ginobili scored half of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, rallying the Spurs past Cleveland, 102-97, and snapping the Cavaliers' eight-game winning streak.
LeBron James tallied 27 points and 10 assists for the Central Division champs, who lost for just the second time in their last 16 contests overall. Antawn Jamison scored 24 with nine rebounds and J.J. Hickson added 20 points in defeat.
"They executed great," James said. "We may have had one or two blown coverages, but most of the time we played our defensive principles and either Manu made a play for himself or made a play for someone else with an open look. When they shoot the ball well, they're very tough to beat because we already know they're going to play defense."
The Cavs magic number to clinch the top seed in the East is four.
The Kings, meanwhile, fell to 0-2 on a five-game road trip in Boston on Friday when Paul Pierce finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, as the Celtics took a 94-86 win over the Sacramento Kings on a night they wrapped up the Atlantic Division title.
Carl Landry had a game-high 30 points to pace the Kings, who played their fourth straight game without rookie star Tyreke Evans (concussion). Beno Udrih added 16 points and 12 assists in the loss, Sacramento's third in a row overall.
"It was two different games for us," said Kings head coach Paul Westphal. "I thought the second half we really got it going. We played the way we think we're supposed to play and we made it interesting. We couldn't come all the way back because the first half was too much of a hole, but I liked what I saw the second half."
Evans, who leads all rookies in scoring at 20.3 points per game, will remain on the sidelines this afternoon. Center Spencer Hawes, who left Friday's loss at Boston with a lower back strain in the third quarter, is questionable.
The Cavs have won seven straight over Sacramento and will be aiming to sweep the home-and-home series between the two clubs for a fourth straight season.
03/28 10:31:09 ET