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Wrap-Up – For the third straight game, the Cavaliers looked like they were having fun playing together, and nobody had a bigger smile on their postgame face than rookie Anthony Bennett – who notched the first double-double of his NBA career as the Wine and Gold avenged an earlier loss to the Kings, going wire-to-wire for the 109-99 victory on Tuesday night at The Q.
Bennett – who finished with 19 points and 10 boards – was one of two Cavaliers who doubled-up, joining Tristan Thompson who netted 16 points and a game-high 13 boards. Luol Deng actually led both teams in scoring with 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Dion Waiters, the highest-scoring reserve in the Eastern Conference, tallied 20 points and a team-leading eight assists. Kyrie Irving rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 13 points and six assists.
The Cavaliers dominated the Kings down low, neutralizing DeMarcus Cousins with the three-headed monsters of Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Henry Sims, the latter who finished with seven points and five boards, going 3-of-5 from the floor before fouling out in the fourth. Cleveland out-rebounded Sacramento, 45-36, outscored them in the paint, 46-26, and on second-chance points, 15-9. The Wine and Gold also combined to hand out 30 assists on 41 made baskets – with five players dealing at least four helpers apiece.
Turning Point – After winning the previous two games with late stops and overtime heroics, the Wine and Gold decided this one early – closing the first quarter on a 17-8 run after Sacramento went ahead by a deuce. Cleveland led by a dozen at intermission and extended their edge to as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Game Ball – Anthony Bennett – Several Cavaliers had strong performances on Tuesday night, but nobody better than this past June’s top overall pick, who’s battled relentless criticism almost all year. All Bennett did against Sacramento was go 6-of-9 from the floor, canning all three three-pointers he attempted, adding 10 boards and a steal. Bennett has netted double-figures in three of his last five games, averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game over that span.
By the Numbers – 12 … Games this season that Dion Waiters has come off the bench to score 20-plus points, most in the Eastern Conference.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, praising Anthony Bennett after Tuesday’s win …
”He can shoot it long range. He can run the floor. He can finish in traffic. He can rebound. Height-wise, he may not be 6-10, 6-11, but he’s long and he’s strong. For a young guy, he’s got a good feel and in time, he’s only going to get better.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers travel to Detroit for a Wednesday night matchup with the Pistons in the final game before the All-Star Break. After Kyrie and Dion do their thing in the Big Easy over the weekend, the Cavaliers start the season’s unofficial second half with a back-to-back – in Philly on Tuesday and coming home to face the Magic on Wednesday night.
Game Highlights: Cavs 109, Kings 99