Kings Clip Cavs at The Q
Wrap-Up – The young Cavaliers started the new year the way they ended the last one – getting tantalizingly close to victory, but coming up just short. On Wednesday – after a back-and-forth affair – Sacramento’s Aaron Brooks split a pair of free throws to give the Wine and Gold a chance with two ticks remaining. But with no timeouts, Kyrie Irving was forced to heave a shot from three-quarters court. His attempt drew front iron and Cleveland dropped the 97-94 thriller at The Q.
Irving led the Wine and Gold with 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting, adding six assists, five boards and three turnovers – the third coming on a critical possession with 38 seconds to play. Dion Waiters, coming off the bench for the first time this season, followed up with 20 points – going 8-for-19 from the floor. Alonzo Gee had a strong all-around game with 16 points, 10 boards and six assists. CJ Miles, starting in place of Waiters, scored all 12 of his points in the first quarter. Tristan Thompson led the Cavs with 13 boards.
Turning Point – After trailing by as many as 10 in the third, neither team got more than five points apart in the final period. Irving’s two free throws put Cleveland up a point – 90-89 – with 1:12 remaining, but on the Kings’ next trip down, John Salmons canned a three-pointer to put Sacramento back up by a deuce. Kyrie’s turnover led to an Aaron Brooks’ layup that made it a two-possession game. Irving hit a jumper to make it 94-92, but Jimmer Fredette padded the lead at the stripe just seconds later.
Game Ball – Alonzo Gee – The Cavaliers’ toughest defender did another blue collar job again on Wednesday – going an efficient 5-for-10 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the stripe. He notched his first double-double of the season with 10 boards and his six helpers tied a team-best. The fourth-year forward committed just a single turnover in a game-high 38 minutes of action.
By the Numbers – 11 … combined points the Cavaliers and Kings have been apart in their last four meetings. In those games – with each team winning a pair, including last season’s 93-92 Cavalier win at The Q – neither team has won by more than four points.
Quotable – Dion Waiters, on another difficult loss in the closing seconds …
“We always come down to these kinds of situations and we just have to find a way to close it out, especially at home. That’s where it really hurts us, not getting a win that we knew we had.”
Up Next – The Wine and Gold hit the road for the first-half of a weekend back-to-back. They’ll head to Tobacco Road to face a Bobcats squad that hasn’t won a game since November 24 on Friday night and return to The Q for a Saturday night affair against James Harden and the high-octane Rockets.