At last! The Sacramento Kings’ All-Star guard, De’Aaron Fox, could make his much-anticipated return to the floor as soon as tonight after injuring his ankle five games prior. However, if he does not return for this game, he is expected to be deployed on Wednesday. Either way, Sacramento has to be elated. Fox’s timetable for a return was unclear as recently as two days ago, so this is positive news for the Kings.
If Fox can give it a go, will his presence be enough to lift the Kings over Cleveland at home? Let’s break it all down!
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Sacramento Kings Prediction
With Fox being a coin flip to play, it is challenging to lock into a pick, as we’d rather know 100% one way or the other. Still, the Kings get a slight lean from us due to how solid they have been at home recently; they have won three consecutive home games, including against the Lakers, Thunder, and Trail Blazers. During that span, they boasted a net rating of +4.6 while putting up 119.3 points per game.
Surprisingly (or not, considering they have been without Fox for two of these three games), Sacramento has only shot 45% from the field and 31% from deep in those home games. Yet, the Kings have still found a way to win in front of their home crowd, which can only mean good things for this matchup.
So far this season, Cleveland has really struggled to shoot from deep (26th in the NBA in 3P%), and that is also advantageous for a Kings team that would often prefer to get into shootouts with opponents. Even if the Kings don’t shoot much better than they have been in their past few games, they still have an opportunity to pull away and secure another home win.
If Fox is back, we love the Kings against the spread (to -3), but if Fox cannot take the floor, we will ultimately be forced to re-evaluate.
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Sacramento Kings Prediction: Kings +1.5
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Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Sacramento Kings Best Odds
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one-point road favorites against the Kings on Monday night (-112 Moneyline) against Sacramento (-108.) The sportsbooks clearly expect a barn-burning coin flip of a game, so buckle in. The point total rests at 226.5 points with -110 odds for both the Over and the Under.
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup
Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Sacramento Kings Injuries
After missing the team’s past five games, De’Aaron Fox could return to the court for Monday night’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the Kings have already ruled out forward Trey Lyles for the bout.
Meanwhile, Cleveland will continue to miss forward Isaac Okoro and guards Ty Jerome and Ricky Rubio. Sam Merrill is listed as day-to-day and should be a game-time decision, but he likely won’t be a major piece in the rotation, regardless of his availability.
Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. Sacramento Kings Key Matchups
It will be a battle of the bigs on Monday when Jarrett Allen tries to contain the key to the Kings’ offense, Domantas Sabonis. Take a look at the full breakdown below!
Jarrett Allen vs. Domantas Sabonis
A huge variable in the outcome of this non-conference matchup between Cleveland and Sacramento will be who wins the center battle between Jarrett Allen and Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis has not been deterred much by Allen’s interior defensive presence, averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists on 58% shooting from the field in the past ten matchups against him.
During that same stretch, Allen has posted roughly 13 points and ten rebounds on 58% against Sabonis. Still, here’s the bottom line: Allen is not the rim protector and interior defender that he once was. At least, not right now.
Although he has only played in four games this season, he has failed to record at least one block in two of them. Sure, it is a smaller sample size; however, Allen has dropped off substantially in a few other key categories that help paint a better picture.
First, Allen has dropped from the 84th percentile in block percentage (relative to position) in the 2020-21 season to the 44th percentile thus far in the 2023-24 campaign. What has been even more important to Allen’s defensive game throughout the years, though, has been his ability to contest shots without fouling. Allen ranked at the 100th percentile in the 2021-22 season for foul percentage (centers), but he has since dropped to the 79th percentile (all per CleaningTheGlass.)
While Allen is still a fantastic interior presence and defender, Sabonis is the beneficiary of a small drop-off in Allen’s defensive output, especially as he tries to get back to 100% after an injury. Sabonis should have a big all-around game here, especially if Fox returns tonight and helps alleviate the offensive pressure with the threat of his driving ability. Advantage: Sabonis.