The Cleveland Cavaliers started their four-game road trip with a win against the Sacramento Kings, 120-111.
This win was crucial for the Cavaliers, who lost to a depleted Memphis Grizzlies team at home on Monday. Cleveland was put under much scrutiny throughout this week as many claimed there were chemistry issues with the Cavaliers players. This bounce-back victory was essential in showing that the players are still putting all their effort into maintaining their top position in the Eastern Conference with a 45-18 record.
The struggling Kings fell to 25-38, and have now lost three games in a row and have lost seven of their last eight games. Sacramento was fighting for the eight seed in the West just a few weeks back, but have now fallen to the 11th seed and sit more than six games outside the playoff race.
The Cavaliers struggled to get in any sort of offensive flow in the first half of this game, as they trailed for a majority of the first and second quarters. The team shot just under 41 percent in the half, and only scored 25 percent of their three-point attempts. Most of their scoring came from Lebron James and Kevin Love, who had 11 points each, and Kyrie Irving who led the team with 12 points at the half. Cleveland’s bench struggled to find the basket, as three bench players scored and combined for only 10 points.
The Kings, on the other hand, shot 56 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. They were led by Demarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay who 12 had points each.
The Kings started the third quarter on the same note they ended the first half on, and extended their lead over the Cavaliers into double digits. Halfway through the third, however, Cleveland began a massive comeback, in which they they stole the lead from the Kings. The comeback, which was propelled by huge baskets from James and Irving was capitalized by a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Irving, which gave the Cavaliers an 89-84 advantage over Sacramento going into the fourth quarter.
Cleveland maintained a lead throughout the majority of the final quarter of play. However, Sacramento made many late pushes to tighten the gap with Cleveland. The game was ultimately sealed by a late three by Love. He struggled to get his shot going in the second half but hit a cold-blood three while getting fouled to ultimately give Cleveland their forty fifth win of the season.
James ended the game with a double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Irving, who was the catalyst for Cleveland down the stretch, ended the game with 30 points.
Cousins had a big game in the loss, scoring 29 points and adding 11 boards. Unfortunately, Cousins did receive a league leading technical foul number 15 on the season, and faces the risk of being suspended if he receives one more.
Cleveland concludes their back to back tomorrow night as they travel to south California to play the Los Angeles Lakers. This game will feature the final matchup between James and long-time rival Kobe Bryant. The game will be on TNT at 10:30 EST. Sacramento plays Friday against the Orlando Magic at home.