Road Reaction: Sacramento Kings 97, Cleveland Cavaliers 94

This game was a lot closer than it should have been, but the Sacramento Kings pulled it out in the end, coming away with the 97-94 victory against the last place Cleveland Cavaliers.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins is finally stringing solid games together for Keith Smart.  After an impressive 21-point 14-rebound game Tuesday night in Detroit, the Kings center was the best player on the floor tonight in Cleveland.  He finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, but more importantly, a Kings’ victory.
  • Jason Thompson was equally effective for the Kings tonight.  The Kings fifth-year power forward continues to bring a solid effort each and every night.  Against the Cavs, Thompson finished with a second big-time double-double for the Kings frontline.  Coming off a 16-point, six-rebound performance last night, the former Rider star dropped went for 19 points and 10 rebounds tonight in Cleveland.
  • Francisco Garcia was incredible for the Kings tonight.  The veteran wing started at the shooting guard spot in place of the injured Tyreke Evans and he came through in a huge way.  Garcia finished with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists,  two steals and two blocks in 34 minutes.
  • Aaron Brooks had a solid 13-point, three-assist game off the bench for coach Smart, but he almost cost his team big-time in waning seconds.  With two seconds left, Brooks missed the second of two free throws, giving the Cavs a glimmer of hope.  Kyrie Irving barely missed the 3/4 court shot at the buzzer and the Kings earned their second road win of the season.
  • John Salmons struggled for most of the night, but buried a huge 3-pointer in the final minute that sealed this game.  He finished with just seven points and his defense was suspect as well.
  • The combination of Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette were not at their best tonight, but they each contributed in their own way.  Thomas got the team going early and Jimmer came through with two clutch free throws in the final minute to ice the game.
  • Rookie Dion Waiters looked solid off the Cavs bench.  He is a volume scorer, but he has a lot of tools to work with going forward.  Waiters finished with 20 points on 8-for-19 shooting in 29 minutes tonight.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings improved to 2-13 on the road this season with the win tonight.  The Kings are now 12-20 on the season, but they are 3-1 in their last four and 5-3 in their last eight games.

Three answers to three questions to ponder

1.  Who will slow DeMarcus Cousins?

The answer to this question was answered quickly tonight in Cleveland – no one could slow Cousins.  The Kings center was a beast and so was his frontcourt mate Jason Thompson.  The Cavs threw the kitchen sink at the Kings bigs, which unfortunately for Cleveland meant Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson and Luke Walton.  The duo of Cousins and Thompson combined to score 37 points, grabbed 26 rebounds and handed out eight assists.

2.  Who will win the point guard battle – the first or last pick from the 2011 NBA Draft?

Irving may have won the battle, but this time around, Isaiah Thomas won the war.  Irving finished with 22 points, six assists and five rebounds, but he couldn’t close this one out late.  Thomas lost minutes to Brooks, who had a strong game off the bench.  Thomas finished with eight points and four assists in 19 minutes of action.

3.  Will Thomas Robinson get more burn this time around against Cleveland?

Robinson got a solid eight minutes of burn in the first half, but looked lost in the Kings’ offensive sets and came away with very little.  In the second half, Smart stuck with a tight rotation that didn’t include Robinson.  He finished the game with just two points and two rebounds on the night.

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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".