We have our second somewhat substantial trade rumor of the young season: the Kings are reportedly open to dealing second-year center Willie Cauley-Stein, the team's No. 6 overall pick out of the 2015 draft. I never understood why Sacramento took Stein there since they already had another former Kentucky star big man in DeMarcus Cousins. I guess there was some thought then that the two could play together with Cousins more of a power forward. But Cauley-Stein is averaging just 4.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per night as Kosta Koufos has supplanted him on the depth chart. The Kings also took a couple of big guys in this year's draft, Skal Labissiere (also from Kentucky) and Georgios Papagiannis, for some reason. WCS would like to be dealt somewhere he can play, and he'd certainly bring back decent value as WCS has potential to be a difference-making defender and rebounder. Sacramento could package him with Rudy Gay, because Gay is definitely being dealt at some point this season (the first trade rumor). The Kings need backcourt help, so you have heard of a possible match with the Boston Celtics.
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Raptors at Cavaliers (-6.5, 208)
First of an NBA TV doubleheader and a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals. These teams played in Toronto on Oct. 28 as well and the Cavs won 94-91. Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 44.3 seconds remaining. Toronto, which was led by DeMar DeRozan's 32, missed its last five shot attempts in the final minute. The Raptors bring a three-game winning streak into this one, last playing Saturday and beating the visiting Knicks 118-107. DeRozan had 33 and joined Michael Jordan, World B. Free and Tiny Archibald as the only players in the past 50 years to score 30-plus points in eight of the first nine games of a season. DeMarre Carroll got the night off for the Raptors in the second of a back-to-back. Cleveland has the East's best record and has won two straight following a 100-93 home victory over the Hornets on Sunday. LeBron James, Cleveland's only starter on the floor in the fourth quarter, scored 11 of his 19 points in the final period. J.R. Smith sat out with a sore right ankle.
Key trends: The home team is 8-2 against the spread in the past 10 meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in six of the Cavs' past eight vs. the East.
Early lean: Cavs and under.
Hawks at Heat (+6.5, 198.5)
Second of a back-to-back for Miami as it was most likely losing in San Antonio on Monday. The Heat were again without starting point guard Goran Dragic, so he surely won't play here. Atlanta won a fourth in a row Saturday, 117-96 over Philadelphia. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points and Dwight Howard 10 points and 11 rebounds. Last season, Miami won the season-series 3-1 and has won three straight against Atlanta.
Key trends: The Hawks are 7-3-1 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 5-1 in the previous six.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Hornets at Timberwolves (TBA)
Charlotte lost a second in a row Sunday, 110-93 at home to Cleveland. The Hornets led by a point entering the fourth. Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 21 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 11 points after missing Friday's game against Toronto with a sore back. Minnesota blasted the Lakers 125-99 on Sunday behind a career-high 47 points from Andrew Wiggins. He was 14-for-21 from the field and had as many points as all the Lakers starters combined. The Wolves were without starting guard Zach LaVine and reserve forward Shabazz Muhammad as both had sore knees and it was the second of a back-to-back. Charlotte has won five straight over the Timberwolves, including two on the road.
Key trends: The Hornets are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings and the under is 4-1 in those five.
Early lean: Hornets and under regardless of those two Wolves.
Bulls at Trail Blazers (-5, 211.5)
Second NBA TV game. Chicago won a second straight game Saturday, 106-95 over visiting Washington. Jimmy Butler had 37 points and added a season-high nine assists along with eight rebounds. Robin Lopez had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Doug McDermott left in the fourth with a concussion, already his second this season. Portland is also on a two-game winning streak after beating Denver 112-105 on Sunday. Damian Lillard had 32 points and C.J. McCollum 21. Portland and Chicago split the 2015-16 season series, 1-1, with each team winning on the other team's home court. The Blazers are 13-4 against the Bulls dating back to the start of the 2007-08 season. They are 7-1 in the past eight meetings at home.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 9-0 in Portland's past nine at home.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
Nets at Lakers (-7, 220.5)
Brooklyn was at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, but hey if you are going to play a back-to-back then doing the L.A. double is the way to go with no travel. The Lakers are playing much better than expected but are still a young team that's going to lay an egg every once in a while, and that happened on Sunday in the 26-point loss in Minnesota in the second of a back-to-back. Lou Williams led the Lakers with 17 points -- he's the team's top scorer despite coming off the bench. Brandon Ingram was iffy to play with a sprained ankle but did and had 10 points. The Lakers won both meetings last year vs. Brooklyn by six points each.
Key trends: The favorite has covered three of the past five meetings. The under is 8-3 in the Lakers' past 11 vs. the East.
Early lean: Lakers and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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