Game #3 Recap: Kings vs. Cavs

Starting Line-ups:

Kings-

Reserves:  Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson, Darnell Jackson, Luther Head, Francisco Garcia, Donté Greene, Antoine Wright.

Inactive: Hassan Whiteside, Pooh Jeter.

Cavs-

  • Ramon Sessions
  • Anthony Parker
  • Jemario Moon
  • JJ Hickson
  • Anderson Varejao

Reserves: Ryan Hollins, Antawn Jamison, Boobie Gibson, Samardo Samuels, Leon Powe, Joey Graham, Jawad Williams.

Injuries: Mo Williams (groin)- Out.

First Quarter Recap:

The first quarter began with a fury.  After both teams missed their first shot of the game, they didn’t miss much else.  The Kings hit their next five baskets and at the six minute mark, the Cavs led 15-18.  Both Udrih and Evans were aggressive on offense, repeatedly taking the Cavs off the dribble.  On defense they chose to be passive aggressive, giving up a blistering 53.8% to the Cavs. This is the best the Kings offense has looked in this early season and although the Kings gave up a lot of early points, they didn’t allow anything easy at the rim.  And on a very good note, Dalembert looks like an elk running the floor, which is a great sign with him coming off the adductor strain.

Kings 34 Cavs  34

Leaders:

Kings- Udrih (10) Points; Evans (5) Rebounds; Udrih (4) Assists.

Cavs- Gibson/Sessions (8) Points; Hickson (3) Rebounds; Gibson (3) Assists.

FG%-  Kings  58.3%   Cavs  53.8%

Rebounds-  Kings  12   Cavs  8

Assists/Turnovers-  Kings  7/3   Cavs  6/2

Second Quarter Recap:

The second quarter belonged to the Cavs. After shooting 53.8% in the first, the Cavs pushed that number to 60.5% in the second.  If the Kings want to have any chance of coming back in this game, they need to figure out a way to stop the Cavs’ guards.  Sessions, Gibson and Parker combined for 37 points on 15 of 18 shooting (3-3 from 3pt range). Beno Udrih is shooting the lights out himself, but if the Kings have any chance to come back, he needs to step up defensively.  Jason Thompson was a major bright spot in the half, putting up 8 points and a team-leading 6 rebounds while only picking up one foul.  Casspi hit 2 of 3 from the perimeter and held Jamario Moon to just 3 points in the half.

Kings  53 Cavs  67

Leaders:

Kings- Udrih (12) Points; Evans/JT (6) Rebounds; Udrih (6) Assists.

Cavs- Sessions (14) Points; Sessions/Varejao (4) Rebounds; Gibson (6) Assists.

FG%-  Kings  48.9%  Cavs  60.5%

Rebounds-  Kings  19  Cavs  19

Assists/Turnovers-  Kings  11/6   Cavs  15/5

Third Quarter Recap:

The Kings mixed up the starting line-up to begin the third, inserting veteran center Samuel Dalembert for rookie DeMarcus Cousins. With the new line-up, it took the Kings a little over three minutes to cut the lead in half after a 10-3 run.  Evans dominated the quarter, scoring 12 points while Omri Casspi played running mate and finished the quarter with 8 of his own.  Not only did the Kings wipe out the 14 point halftime deficit, but they came away with a two point lead.

Kings 84 Cavs  82

Leaders:

Kings- Evans (19) Points; Evans (7) Rebounds; Evans (7) Assists.

Cavs- Sessions (17) Points; Varejao (8) Rebounds; Gibson (7) Assists.

FG%-  Kings  51.6%  Cavs  54.4%

Rebounds-  Kings  32  Cavs  25

Assists/Turnovers-  Kings  18/9  Cavs  19/10

Fourth Quarter Recap:

The Kings turned up the intensity in the fourth.  Omri Casspi continued his stellar play, both on the offensive end where he went 6-7 from three point range, and defensively where he had three steals and got his hands on countless passes.  Coach Westphal went to rookie DeMarcus Cousins around the 7 minute mark and he responded as an offensive cog.  For the second straight night, the Kings had an 8 point lead with 3:45 on the clock, and again they struggled to put an opponent away.  With 16 seconds left, Cousins hit the second of two free throws to end a more than 3 and a half minute scoring drought.  Casspi missed an opportunity to finish the game off at the 6 second mark when he missed two free throws.  Coach Westphal brought Antoine Wright and Donté Greene in for defensive purposes for their only 5.9 seconds of play in the entire game.  The Kings’ defense held, Cousins was fouled and hit one of two free throws to push the lead back to three with 2 seconds left.  The Cavs missed a desperation three at the buzzer and the Kings escaped with a three point lead.

Kings Win!

Kings 107 Cavs  104

Leaders:

Kings-  Evans (21) Points; Cousins (9) Rebounds; Udrih (11) Assists.

Cavs- Sessions (21) Points; Varejao (9) Rebounds; Gibson (7) Assists.

FG%-  Kings  51.9%  Cavs  48.8%

Rebounds-  Kings  43  Cavs  35

Assists/Turnovers-  Kings  25/14  Cavs  21/13

Coaches Notes and Quotes:

  • Westphal on Dalembert starting over Cousins to begin the third quarter: “I didn’t think we had enough energy.  I think we looked flat.  I think we were trying hard, but we needed to get some stops and Sam’s one of the best in the league at anchoring a defense.  It got us jump started.
  • On Cousins versus Dalembert: “They’re not the same type of player exactly.  They play center differently, but there are certain constants like talking and playing pick and rolls a certain way.  DeMarcus can learn a lot from Samuel and he has already.  They’re a real good tandem at the center position.”
  • On Omri Casspi’s big night: “Well, when you make six out of seven three’s, and he got a couple of big steals…he was okay.”
  • More on Casspi: “His defense has improved a lot this year and he has a better understanding of how to play his position and what the league’s all about.  Tonight he finally started putting a little arch under the ball and getting his legs under him, so he was shooting the ball with great confidence and consistency.  That’s how you make it in this league…to play like he played tonight, every night.”
  • On Tyreke Evans’ contribution tonight: “He struggled a little bit.  He missed lay-ups, he missed shots he usually makes but he had stretches there where he dominated the game and they had to distort their defense to stop him and other guys got shots.  We wouldn’t have won without him, that’s for sure, but he can play better.”
  • On Carl Landry’s contribution tonight: “Carl’s been very consistent.  He’s known as a big time fourth quarter scorer and we’re inclined to want to go to him in the fourth quarter.  I rested him for a long time at the end of the third so we could ride him in the fourth and he delivered.”
  • On the officiating: “It was a man’s game out there today and that’s the way we like to see it played.”
  • On Beno Udrih’s contribution tonight: “He’s extremely efficient, what was he – six for nine with eleven assists?  The players look to him.  He’s always aware of what’s going on and he’s a great communicator and he’s a very versatile player.  We rely on him a lot.”

Player of the Game: Omri Casspi by a landslide.  Not only did he hit six of seven three’s and score twenty points, but his defense was stellar and he threw his body all over the court.

The Difference Maker: Carl Landry.  His seventeen points came on eight of eleven from the field.  He didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his rebounding numbers, but it was his reliable touch in the fourth that helped the Kings build a ten point advantage.

Stats that Stick-out:

  • 6 of 7 from 3 point land in 42 minutes by Omri Casspi.
  • 5.9 seconds of playing time for both Antoine Wright and Donté Greene. They didn’t allow a tying shot in those 5.9 seconds, so there is that.
  • 14 points and 9 rebounds for rookie DeMarcus Cousins.
  • 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in only 16 minutes by Samuel Dalembert in his second game back from injury.
  • No second half minutes for Jason Thompson after he played well in the second quarter scoring 8 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, while only committing one foul.
  • A 43 to 35 rebound advantage, even with starting power forward only grabbing 3 rebounds, the Kings still out rebounded the Cavs by 8.
  • 51.9% shooting.  Wow.
  • 9 of 15 on three pointers for a spectacular 60%.  Double wow.
  • Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 4 total fouls after committing a combined 19 personal fouls over the first two games.

The Kings looked very good in the second half.  Once again, they struggled to score in crunch time, but they escaped with a win, unlike last night.  It seemed like the officials tried to stay out of the game and let the players play, again, unlike last night.  The Kings travel home to Sacramento to take on the Toronto Raptors on Monday evening followed by the Lakers on Wednesday.  They have a shot to finish the first week of the season with a winning record, which isn’t so bad when you factor in the three road games.  After just three games, Westphal appears to have found a rotation of players that work well together.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".