Notebook: Kings 97, Cavaliers 94

Posted Jan 2, 2013 11:49 PM

Brian Dulik, for

THE FACTS: Power forward Jason Thompson and center DeMarcus Cousins combined for 37 points and 26 rebounds in leading the Sacramento Kings to a 97-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thompson scored a team-high 19 points with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Cousins collected 18 points, a game-best 16 boards and six assists. Point guard Kyrie Irving had 22 points and six assists for the Cavaliers, while shooting guard Dion Waiters scored 20 points. The Kings snapped their seven-game road losing streak.

QUOTABLE: "For the most part, we controlled the game. We're playing a lot better as a team right now. We made it interesting at the end, but we had the most points at the end, which is all that matters."
-- Kings power forward Jason Thompson

THE STAT: Sacramento entered the evening with a 1-13 road record -- tied for the worst in the NBA with Washington -- but was the more poised team down the stretch. The Kings earned their first away win since Dec. 8 at Portland, while handing the Cavaliers their fifth straight home loss. "We've got enough talent to win on the road," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "But we're not strong enough yet to recognize it's about patience and playing the clock, along with what happens when you have the ball."

TURNING POINT: After Irving made two free throws to put the Cavaliers up 90-89 with 1:12 remaining, the Kings answered with five straight points. Sacramento shooting guard John Salmons buried a 3-pointer from the corner -- off a nice kick-out pass from the post by Cousins -- and point guard Aaron Brooks followed with a driving layup to give the Kings a 94-90 edge with 19 ticks left. "I feel like when this team shares the basketball, we're hard to beat," Cousins said. "That's my reason for doing it. I wanna win games."

QUOTABLE II: "John (Salmons) couldn't really find his game tonight, but he made a big shot when we needed it at the end. And DeMarcus did a nice job of finding him when the Cavs doubled him."
-- Kings coach Keith Smart

HOT: The Kings are 3-1 since Cousins returned from his third suspension of the young season. "I want to keep out the negativity and not bring any more negativity to this team," Cousins vowed. "I want people to be talking positive about Sacramento and what we're doing." ... Brooks scored 13 points and dished out three assists as the Kings' first player off the bench. He connected on 6-of-10 field goals and did not commit a turnover. ... Cavaliers point guard Shaun Livingston made his debut, scoring two points. He was claimed off waivers from Washington on Dec. 25.

NOT: Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller and power forward Tristan Thompson missed 12 of their 19 field goal attempts -- and were dominated by Cousins and Jason Thompson at both ends of the court. ... Waiters missed a dunk attempt so badly in the second quarter, the basketball caromed off the rim into the backcourt. ... Cleveland's starting lineup did not record a steal in the game. ... Cavaliers power forward Kevin Jones played six scoreless minutes, giving him eight points in eight NBA contests. ... The teams combined to shoot 8-of-37 on 3-pointers.

QUOTABLE III: "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."
-- Cavaliers shooting guard Waiters

GOOD MOVE: When Kings starting point guard Isaiah Thomas struggled mightily in the first quarter, Smart didn't hesitate to replace him with Brooks. The former Cavaliers coach also used third-stringer Jimmer Fredette for 15 minutes, squeezing out 27 total points from the position. "Aaron, Isaiah and Jimmer -- my three little guards -- have come in and done a good job all year," Smart said. "Every night, it's someone different coming through. Tonight, it was Aaron."

BAD MOVE: Scott brought first-round pick Waiters off the bench for the first time -- and the former Syracuse sixth man was visibly displeased about the move. Waiters went 8-of-19 shooting in 29 minutes and appeared to be playing at a different speed than his teammates. New Cavaliers starting shooting guard C.J. Miles also struggled, going 4-of-13 without an assist in a 12-point performance. "It was a very different look," Irving said of the switch. "We'll see how it goes in future games."

NOTABLE: Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (right knee bruise) missed his seventh straight game. The NBA's leading rebounder has been sidelined since taking a hard fall to the floor on Dec. 18 against Toronto. "Varejao is their big glue guy, so Coach had it in his mind for us to be aggressive against them tonight," Jason Thompson said. ... Cleveland shooting guard Daniel "Boobie" Gibson (concussion) missed his second contest in a row. He was struck on the head by Hawks shooting guard Anthony Morrow on Dec. 28. ... Kings shooting guard Tyreke Evans (left knee soreness) will join the team Friday in Toronto. The 2009-2010 NBA Rookie of the Year has only played in one game since being hurt on Nov. 27 against Minnesota. ... Sacramento shooting guard Marcus Thornton (left ankle sprain) sat out his second straight game and remains in a walking boot.

UP NEXT: For the Kings, Friday @ Toronto, Saturday @ Brooklyn, Monday vs. Memphis. For the Cavaliers, Friday @ Charlotte, Saturday vs. Houston, Monday @ Chicago.