In the third game of a four-game Western Conference road trip, the Cleveland Cavaliers will visit the Sacramento Kings tonight at 10 PM ET after a road win in Golden State.
Last season, the Cavaliers dropped both games against the Kings. With De’Aaron Fox and Domanatas Sabonis at the helm for Sacramento, the Kings earned a spot in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 16 years that season.
Both the Kings and Cavaliers have opened the 2023-24 regular season with a rocky start following a tremendous prior year. In eight games, the Kings find themselves at 4-4 with a -2.6 point differential so far. Cleveland’s -2.2 differential places them only one rank above Sacramento across the league.
Over the last three games, however, the Cavaliers are on an upward trend with a +3.7 point differential compared to Sacramento’s -5.0 differential. For the Kings, their home game against the Cavs is a moment to regain their identity. Entering this game, the Cavaliers are instead hoping to build off of their dominant win against the Warriors and reach an even 5-5 record.
Against the Warriors, the Cavs forced 20 turnovers and distributed the ball with precision and intention. Their last outing starkly contrasted a painful road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in which Cleveland lost the ball nine times in the first period. Inconsistent play has plagued the Cavaliers’ early season, but their recent upward momentum is their best opportunity to build a foundation going forward and begin their first win streak of the season.
Neither team’s offense has found their footing yet, ranking in the lower half of the league in scoring. The Kings have scored the 19th-most points per game this season with 111.1 per game, while the Cavs rank 23rd with 109.7 points per game. Neither team has found their rhythm yet this year, making their first contest against one another a premier opportunity to right the ship for the winner.
While each game of the regular season can position a team for a better postseason run, Cleveland’s visit to Sacramento is a uniquely impactful matchup for two teams searching for an answer in their early season struggles. Where one team finds success, the other team falls short. These two aspects could shift the final outcome and offer into both team’s standing among the Association.