by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

 
Six players scored in double figures for the Sacramento Kings, who beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 124-118 on Monday night.  John Salmons, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson and Marcus Thornton combined to score 106 points in the victory, which ended a four-game slide for the Kings.  The win moves the Kings to 14-24 overall and 11-10 at Sleep Train Arena.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins destroyed the Cavs tonight, scoring 26 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, handing out six assists and blocking three shots.  He didn’t come out unscathed though.  Cousins picked up his ninth technical and a flagrant foul one in the win tonight.  Those techs are starting to add up quickly.
  • Tyreke Evans regained his starting two-guard spot and responded with 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting.  Keith Smart is about to have a major problem with his rotation as all of his guards get healthy at the same time.  Evans played a total of 25 minutes tonight and could have gone for plenty more, despite icing his knee for much of the fourth quarter.
  • Welcome back Marcus Thornton.  The Kings guard has really struggled since coming back from a sprained left ankle.  But Monday, he finished with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting  and nailed three 3-pointers in the win.
  • Thomas Robinson is starting to find his niche.  The energetic rookie looks like he is wearing roller skates at times, but his hustle and rebounding is starting to shine through.  He tied his career-high with 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 28 minutes.  While he isn’t a true shot blocker, Robinson made life difficult for plenty of Cavs players tonight with his high-flying block attempts.  He still needs some work on his offensive game and decision making, but the NBA appears to be slowing down for him.
  • Jimmer Fredette looked really good in limited minutes.  He shot an impressive 5-for-8 from the field and finished with 16 points in 14 minutes.  It was Jimmer’s big 3-pointer in the fourth that extended the Kings lead to nine at 112-103 and he had a very nice block on Kyrie Irving in the final quarter.
  • Aaron Brooks was healthy enough to play after missing Saturday’s game with the flu, but Smart went a different direction tonight.  James Johnson and Travis Outlaw also received the dreaded DNP-CD.
  • Dion Waiters scored a career-high 33 points in just 29 minutes off the Cavs’ bench.  The rookie shot 12-for-18 from the field and hit all three of his 3-pointers in the loss.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings bench combined to score 54 points on 60-percent shooting.
- James Ham

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Can the Kings contain the Cavs in transition?

The Cavs won the war in transition tonight, but barely.  They outscored the Kings in the fast break by one point, 18-17, in tonight’s game.  Minus a few possessions here and there, Sacramento played better transition defense Monday compared to Saturday’s loss to the Miami Heat.  The Kings may have lost the fast break battle, but their execution in the half court still allowed them to play an effective game.  Sacramento recorded 24 assists to just 11 turnovers in the win.

2.  Will Jason Thompson awake from his rebounding slump?

Thompson was unable to overcome his recent rebounding woes.  The Kings power forward began tonight’s game in foul trouble and never found his way out of it.  Thompson grabbed just four rebounds in 28 minutes of action.  His ineffectiveness led to more playing time for Thomas Robinson, who played 28 minutes Monday night.  Robinson grabbed just seven rebounds and his hustle and activity on both sides of the ball led to extra opportunities for the Kings in the win.

3.  Will Jimmer Fredette come out of his shooting slump?

The Kings second-year guard found his stroke tonight, finishing with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting in a little under 14 minutes of action.  After shooting just 23.8 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc in his last four games, Fredette came off the bench to light the Cavs up.  In the second quarter alone, he scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field, including a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.  Looks like playing against another young team facing their own share of struggles was exactly what Fredette needed.

Quotes of the Game

Keith Smart’s opening remarks:

When you’re struggling to get a win, you’ll just take whatever you can get.  Our team did a good job tonight and we got that win.  Now we have a little breathing room and then we have another game to play on Wednesday.  I thought that the work we did on the defensive side wasn’t indicated in the score, but I thought that our traps on their pick-and-rolls, and this team does about 30 of those a game, were good.  I felt that our big guys got out there and did a great job.  There were two talented guards on the other team.  Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving.  They put a lot of pressure on us, but our big guys did a great job overall.  We broke down a little bit at the end and gave away two 3-pointers when when we could’ve put the game away.

 Byron Scott on DeMarcus Cousins:

He’s a beast down down there.  He’s tough.  He’s been playing well.  I’ve been watching some of the box scores when they play and he’s been averaging around 20 points a night and 12 or so rebounds a game and tonight was no different.

DeMarcus Cousins on keeping his cool:

I’m just telling myself let’s not make this situation worse, just (keep) playing.  My thought was every bad play, let’s get a good play so that’s what I did.