Posted by: Kingsguru21 | December 23, 2009

Game #28: Cleveland Cavaliers at Kings

So, tonight is the night. LeBron James vs _______ (I’m thinking you could simply insert the Kings here). So, let’s dive into this.

Let’s keep this simple and easy. Cleveland is a slow paced team (25th), 9th in offensive rating and 6th in defensive rating. (They’re a terrible team I tell you.) The Kings, conversely, are 6th in pace, 8th in offfensive rating, and 25th in defensive rating.

Key Matchup’s of the game:

Shaquille O’Neal vs Spencer Hawes

It’s no secret that Spencer is struggling a bit of late, and even some of his most useful traits (tipping balls so others get credit for boards) will be critical tonight. While Spencer is often judged by how high he can jump or the numbers he manages to collect on a game by game basis, it’s really true that Spencer’s game has been a bit thrown off by physical and/or athletic players. If Shaquille O’Neal was in his prime, I would suggest Spencer’s best option would have been to sliced into liver & onion’s. Thankfully for Spencer, this is not that Shaq.

Or, maybe Spencer can figure out a way to rise to the occasion instead. Like, hit some mid range/3 balls against Shaq offensively. Defensively, holding his position as long as possible, and being able to let Shaq do his thing early. When Spencer plays well he can be effective against players of the caliber of Shaquille O’Neal.

Judge Spencer by 3 things tonight: FG%, FGA, and Minutes Played. Let the other shit go.

I would suggest that Tyreke Evans making life miserable for whoever defends him (Anthony Parker, Delonte West, LeBron James (?), or possibly Mo Williams would be important too.

If there was ever a night for Jason Thompson to explode against a quality opponent, tonight would be the night. There is no opponent like Sideshow Bob aka Anderson Varejao.

If there was ever a night for the bench to perform, tonight is the night. (Deja Vu anyone?)

A win tonight would be cool, but as I said in my last recap (if you bothered to read it all), it’s going to be a tough night for the Kings to win. The Cavs know the Kings are not the team they were a year ago, and that doesn’t help matters. If the Cavs are on a mission, and they’re playing it like in December (9-3 up to this point), it’s not an easy task. Nothing is impossible, but beating the Cavs tonight with a motivated locked in LeBron James (and some locked in band mates). On the other hand, the Cavs have played a reasonably softer schedule in December than November (and the 3 losses have come @ Memphis, @ Houston and @ Dallas).

Every game is winnable, of course, but tonight is going to be a monster challenge if a lagging Shaquille O’Neal (by recent standards) is playing well. LeBron James, is, umm, well, you know? Mo Williams can hit from the outside. Anthony Parker, Anderson Varejao, Jamario Moon, and Delonte West (assuming his bi-polar meds are kicking in today) all provide reasonable role player support. JJ Hickson has looked like a reasonable rotation player so far this season.

Prediction’s is for suckaz and Vegas. Game is at 7PM PST. TV is CSNCA and Radio is 1140. Enjoy!

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