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- Cavaliers shooting guards Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (left ankle sprain) and Anthony Parker (lower back strain) remain out, making Alonzo Gee the starter for a third straight game. Cleveland coach Byron Scott said Gibson has a 50-50 chance of returning before the NBA All-Star break, while Parker’s status will be updated Monday. Center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) is also inactive and expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks. “We’ll have the same guys tonight that we’ve been going with,” Scott said.
- Kings power forward J.J. Hickson spent his first three pro seasons with the Cavaliers before being traded last summer for small forward Omri Casspi. Hickson, who was the 19th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, will be a free agent following this season. “I’m not having the year I wanted to have, not personally and not winning,” said Hickson, who is averaging 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds for Sacramento. “But (earning a new contract) is gonna take care of itself.”
- The Kings rank last in the league in field goal percentage (.409) and in points allowed (101.6), which is a combination that makes Scott nervous, even though the Cavaliers own the NBA’s second-best rebounding percentage (.520). “Because they’re only shooting 40 percent from the floor, there will be lots of opportunities for second-chance points,” the coach explained. “We’ve got to prevent that tonight from happening on the boards.”
- The Kings will start point guard Isaiah Thomas, shooting guard Marcus Thornton, small forward Tyreke Evans, power forward Jason Thompson, and center DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento coach Keith Smart, who began his NBA head coaching career with the Cavaliers in 2003, reported no injuries on his 14-man roster. Rookie forward Tyler Honeycutt is the Kings’ lone inactive.
- Cleveland’s starting lineup includes point guard Kyrie Irving, power forward Antawn Jamison, center Semih Erden, Casspi, and Gee. Casspi also has struggled in his new surroundings, shooting just .418 from the floor and .596 from the foul line while starting all 28 games. “I think Omri is progressing nicely, but it’s coming slower than we expected and slower than he wants,” Scott said.
- Cleveland is 2-3 on its franchise-record long nine-game homestand, while Sacramento is 0-3 on its six-game road trip.
– Brian Dulik