With 2.9 seconds remaining, DeMarcus Cousins rolled through the lane and flipped in what looked to be the game winner for the Sacramento Kings. But with the clock ticking and his team leading by one, Tyreke Evans made an unforgivable mistake tonight.
The third-year guard reached in and fouled rookie Kyrie Irving, who sank two free throws with four-tenths of a second left to give the Cavs a 93-92 home win, sending the Kings to their fifth consecutive loss.
Regardless of the outcome, Isaiah Thomas was the star of the night . Matched-up against Irving, the first pick in the 2011 NBA draft, and starting just his second game as a pro, Mr. Irrelevant barely missed a triple-double. He led the Kings with 23 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
Irving was impressive as a scorer, but he didn’t pick up his first assist until late in the third quarter. But in the end, Irving gets the praise for hitting two game-winning free throws in the waning seconds. His 23 points led the Cavs on the night, while veteran Antawn Jamison chipped in 21 of his own and added eight rebounds.
Tristan Thompson, the Cavs other top four pick, notched a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds off the bench.
Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and a surprising 10 rebounds for the Kings, who drop to 10-21 on the season.
Notes and Analysis
- J.J. Hickson returned to Cleveland for the first time since being dealt to the Kings before the lockout. Hickson went scoreless for a second consecutive game, finishing with four rebounds in 16 minutes.
- The 35-year old Jamison gave the Kings fits tonight. Jason Thompson, Donté Greene and Hickson all struggled to stay in front of the spry 14-year vet, who finished with 21 points on 7-for-21 shooting.
- Thompson played sparingly tonight due to the match-up issue with Jamison, finishing with three points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes.
- The Kings hit just four of their 19 three-point attempts for a less-than-stellar 21 percent.
- Both teams went cold after a fast-paced, exciting first quarter. The Kings out-shot the Cavs on the night, but just barely – 37.6 to 36 percent.
- Omri Casspi started at small forward for the Cavs. The former King tallied a career-high 12 rebounds, but shot just 3-for-12 from the field and 0-for-5 from three-point range.
- Lost in the wake of Thomas’ big game was Jimmer Fredette, who scored just two points in less than five minutes of action.
- Cavs coach Byron Scott used only eight players tonight in the win. Ramon Sessions, Tristan Thompson and Ryan Hollins combined for 34 points, six assists and 21 rebounds in a little over 77 minutes of play.
- Stat of the Night: Cousins stepped in front of Irving in the third quarter to draw his league leading 27th charge of the season.