Cavs Drop Thriller in Sacramento
Wrap-Up – Monday night’s duel in Sacramento was one of the most entertaining games of the season, although that’s definitely not what the Cavaliers were looking for. In a matchup that featured offensive fireworks and flaring tempers, it was the Kings who came out on top, 124-118, in what might have been the Wine and Gold’s final visit to California’s capitol.
The Kings notched 69 first-half points, but the Wine and Gold put up 62 of their own after intermission – led by rookie Dion Waiters, who scored 16 of his career-high 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers chipped away at Sacramento’s lead all night and cut their edge just three with 15.7 seconds to play. But the Kings hit their free throws in the final seconds to seal the deal and send Cleveland to its third straight loss on the five-game trip.
Tristan Thompson doubled-up with 17 points and 15 boards and C.J. Miles added 17 points of his own. Tyler Zeller, who scrapped with the mercurial DeMarcus Cousins all night, finished with 13 points and a game-high four blocks. Kyrie Irving added 15 points, four helpers and three steals, but also committed half-a-dozen miscues in the process.
Turning Point – Monday night’s matchup was one of those rare games that had no real turning point. The Kings took an early lead and never relinquished it. The game was tied at 23-apiece late in the first quarter before Sacramento went on to close the quarter on an 8-1 run. But Cleveland had plenty of opportunities to get back in the ballgame. The Cavs simply couldn’t get the stops when they needed them.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – The rookie from Syracuse illustrated why he was the No. 4 overall selection last June – going 12-of-18 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, and saved his best for last, nearly willing the Wine and Gold to the win on Monday. Waiters was 6-of-8 from the stripe and led the Cavaliers with five assists.
By the Numbers – 87 … combined made field goals by both teams on Monday night. Sacramento shot 51 percent from the floor on the night; Cleveland shot 50 percent (8-of-16) from long-distance. Each team’s lowest-scoring quarter was 24 points. Earlier Monday night, the Atlanta Hawks scored 20 in a half.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on his team battling on a chippy night in Sacramento …
“There’s no doubt we have to get tougher as a basketball team. That’s something that we just have to do, period. And sometimes it takes getting your butt kicked a whole lotta times before it starts coming out of you.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrap up the road trip with a rare few days off in-between. On Wednesday night, they travel to Portland to take on the Blazers and round out the roadie in Salt Lake City against a tough Jazz team on Saturday. The Wine and Gold don’t play again until the following Tuesday night, when they welcome the Celtics to The Q.