Cavs carry consecutive wins, better ball movement to Sacramento

The Cavs are 2-0 since trading for Deng. Of course, Deng has played in just one of those games -- Friday at Utah.

Russell Isabella/Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers (13-23) at Sacramento Kings (12-22)

Venue: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.

TV: 6 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio (Cavaliers Live pre-game at 5:30)

Projected Starters:

CLEVELAND: C Anderson Varejao; PF Tristan Thompson; SF Luol Deng; SG C.J. Miles; PG Kyrie Irving.

SACRAMENTO: C DeMarcus Cousins; PF Jason Thompson; SF Rudy Gay; SG Marcus Thornton; PG Isaiah Thomas.

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Pregame Notes:

— The Cavs are 2-0 since trading for Deng. Of course, Deng has played in just one of those games — Friday at Utah. He registered a season-low 21 minutes but looked solid in scoring 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

— Several fans grew concerned after seeing Deng ice his Achilles in his first game with the Cavs. He says it’s nothing to worry about. It’s been sore most of the season, sometimes more than others. As of today, it seems more like an occasional nuisance than a big problem.

— The Cavs have moved the ball better and generally looked more cohesive and fluid offensively than at any other time this season. Maybe they’re starting to get the hang of things. That’s good. There’s still time. They’re still in a playoff chase with 46 games left. Anything can happen.

— As Irving said at practice last week, guys are realizing that if they pass the ball, they can get "magically" get it back. When Irving, Dion Waiters and the others trust their teammates to do the right thing with the ball, the results are a lot better.

— If the Cavs truly are trusting in each other, this season can still be fun. They have the individual talent, and it really shows when they play together.

— Miles has been unstoppable, connecting on a combined 16 of 21 shots in the previous two games. He has scored in double figures in five straight games.

— Jarrett Jack missed two games with back spasms, then returned Friday to give perhaps his best performance of the season. Like all of the Cavs since the Deng trade, Jack played smart, forced nothing and didn’t try to get too cute with the ball. It’s been winning basketball, and if the Cavs can keep it up, they’ll go places. Jack has to continue to be an example off the bench.

— Kings coach Mike Malone was on Mike Brown’s staff for all of Brown’s first stint in Cleveland (2005-10). Like Brown, Malone is a defense-first guy who places a premium on giving effort at all times and playing the right way. The two men have a deep respect for each other.

— Kings assistant Chris Jent also spent some time on Brown’s staff (2009-10). Before that, he was the Cavs’ director of player development (2006-09). He also assisted head coach Thad Matta at Ohio State for two seasons (2011-13).

— Kings F Carl Landry (hip) is out.

— The Kings have scored 100 or more points in 17 of their last 18 games. Cousins has been fantastic, with season averages of 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. He deserves to be an All-Star this year.

— Gay and Derrick Williams were recently obtained in trades, and the Kings apparently are looking to make even more moves. Of course, the same could be said of the Cavs.

— Thornton went from not playing much to replacing rookie Ben McLemore in the starting lineup. The Cavs considered drafting McLemore at No. 1. Prior to the draft, he visited the Cavs at their practice facility and stayed until after 1 a.m. McLemore is averaging 8.0 points but shooting just 36 percent from the floor.

— Cleveland is 3-15 on the road; Sacramento is 8-13 at home. The Kings swept the two-game season series last season.