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On Sunday night, the third quarter was the Cavaliers salvation. On Monday, it was their downfall.
After a tight first half that featured 10 ties and 15 lead-changes, the Kings jumped on the Wine & Gold after intermission and kept them at arm’s length the rest of the way – hanging on to hand Cleveland the 119-105 loss at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
With the loss, the Cavaliers finished 2-2 on the homestand, with a challenging four-game roadie on tap later this week.
One night after one of their most inspired efforts of the year, the Cavs looked listless to start the second half of the back-to-back. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff subbed out his entire starting lineup just after the halfway point of the first quarter.
Bickerstaff searched for the right combinations all night, with no Cavalier seeing more than 30 minutes of action. Cleveland got beat up on the boards and shot just 24 percent (4-of-17) from beyond the arc.
JaVale McGee led the Wine & Gold, finishing with a season-high 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench – going 6-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding nine boards, three boards and a pair of blocks.
Darius Garland scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, going 6-for-15 from the floor with a pair of assists and a steal.
Collin Sexton followed up with 15 points on 6-for-15 shooting, leading both squads with seven assists.
Jarrett Allen had a rough night from the floor, going just 4-of-11, notching 11 points and a team-high nine boards.
Dean Wade notched double-figure scoring in his second straight outing – finishing with 11 points of his own, going 5-of-10 from the floor to go with three boards, three assists and a pair of steals.
Four Kings starters finished in double-figure scoring, led by De’Aaron Fox, who poured in a game-high 30 points on 13-for-23 shooting to go with six assists. Impressive rookie Tyrese Haliburton was outstanding as well – finishing with 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-5 from long-distance.
Sacramento wrapped up a six-game road trip with three wins in their last four games. The Cavs face them again on Saturday night at the Golden 1 Center.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Darius Garland drops a no-look, between-the-legs assist to Collin Sexton on the break, as Sexton finished the move with a lay-in.
The Cavs trailed by just four in a close, high-scoring first stanza, but things slipped away from there.
In that fateful third period, the Kings jumped out to a double-digit advantage early, cut Cleveland cut their lead back down to four, 72-68, on Collin Sexton’s two free throws. But Sacramento answered with a 16-2 run, eventually taking a two-touchdown lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, the Cavs cut the Kings’ lead to single digits just twice and really never mounted a serious threat.
By the Numbers - 70 … points the Cavaliers scored in the paint against the Kings, their second game this season topping the 70-point plateau, with six contests of at least 60.
Monday’s contest featured two teams in the league’s top three in points in the paint – with Sacramento (53.4) scoring just a tenth of a point less than the Memphis Grizzlies and the Cavaliers leading the Eastern Conference at 53.4 points per game.
"Whatever the reason was, we just didn’t have that fight, that spark, that energy. We tried, and I give our guys credit for trying, but we just couldn’t put it together consistently."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
With their four-game homestand behind them, the Wine & Gold close out the month of March on the road – beginning with their first matchup of the season against the Bulls, traveling to the Windy City before heading west.
From Chicago, the Cavaliers play a weekend back-to-back in Cali – taking on the LeBron-less Lakers on Friday night before heading up the coast for a Saturday night showdown with the Kings in Sacramento.
The Cavs close out the trip on Monday night in Utah and get a couple days off before returning home to face the Sixers on April Fool’s Day.