PREVIEW: Sacramento Kings conclude road trip with visit to Cleveland Cavaliers

Mar 15, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (5) drives past Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (3) during the first quarter at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings conclude a six-game road swing through the Eastern Conference on Monday, facing the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cleveland is on the second leg of a back-to-back after beating the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, 116-105, behind 36 points from Collin Sexton. It marked the third time in March that Sexton scored at least 32 points, and his third consecutive game of at least 29.

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Sexton’s 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range led Cleveland on a torrid 17-of-33 shooting night for the team, including Dean Wade’s 4-of-7 off the bench.

“Offensively, we did a great job of playing together,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said in his postgame press conference. “Even though Collin had his big night, I thought the ball moved really, really well. I thought we created a lot of really great shots for each other.”

Cleveland entered Sunday ranked last in the NBA in scoring offense at 103.8 points per game, and endured a three-game losing streak last week in which it failed to score triple digits.

In the three games since, Cleveland has scored 117, 110 and 116 points and gone 2-1 in that stretch. On Monday, they host a Kings team ranked near the bottom of the league in points per game allowed at 119.6.

Sacramento can close its season-long road trip at .500 with a win Monday. The Kings opened the trip with consecutive losses to Atlanta and Charlotte, rebounded with wins against Washington and Boston, but dropped a 129-105 decision at Philadelphia on Saturday.

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De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento’s leading scorer at 23.7 points per game, saw his 11-game streak of games scoring at least 20 points end with a 16-point effort in Philadelphia.

A 42-21 deficit through the first quarter doomed Sacramento, an issue Kings coach Luke Walton said must be remedied going forward.

“The way we started the game, there’s no answer to that,” he said in his postgame press conference. “The energy we played with, and the alertness, it didn’t matter what was happening. They were scoring and we were missing.”

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Just one night earlier, Sacramento rode an early lead to a 107-96 defeat of Boston, building a 10-point lead by intermission. Three Kings scored at least 22 points in Boston, with Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes notching 22 and 25, respectively.

Against Philadelphia, Hield was the only King to score more than 16 points. He had 25.

Sacramento is without Marvin Bagley III, who has been out since March 17 with a fractured hand. Bagley was averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game when he sustained his injury.

Chimezie Metu remains out with a fractured wrist that has sidelined him since Feb. 16. Kevin Love (calf), Javale McGee (illness), Taurean Prince (shoulder) and Matthew Dellavedova (appendicitis) missed Sunday’s win.

Monday’s meeting is the first of two between Cleveland and Sacramento in a five-day span. The Cavaliers travel to Sacramento on March 27, the third game in a four-game Western Conference road swing.

–Field Level Media