The Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings both entered Sunday night’s game on a two-game winning streak. Only one team would leave the Sleep Train Arena on a three-game winning streak, obviously. The Cavs had been 2-0 since the acquisition of Luol Deng, and had been playing very well both offensively and defensively. The Kings had been playing better since acquiring Rudy Gay as well, playing to a 6-8 record with him in the lineup.
The first half was fairly competitive, with both teams scoring at a high rate, essentially trading baskets. In the first quarter, C.J. Miles got the Cavs off to a great start, scoring eight points while hitting three of his five shot attempts. Anderson Varejao scored six points and dished out four first quarter assists. After the first 12 minutes, the Cavs led 32-30.
In the second quarter, the momentum began to turn in the Kings’ favor and it would never sway towards the Cavs again. After their hot shooting start in the first quarter, the Cavs would fail to even notch 20 points in the second, third or fourth quarter. The Kings, on the other hand, would score 30 points in the first, 29 in the second, 30 in the third and 35 in the fourth.
The third quarter was the beginning of the end for the Cavs. Doom clearly began to set in. The Kings outscored the Cavaliers 30-11 in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 89-61. After being outscored in the third quarter by 19 points, it was clear the game was over for the Cavs. The fourth quarter was more of the same, with the Kings outscoring the Cavaliers 35-19 en route to a 124-80 home victory.
Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving couldn’t find his rhythm on Sunday night, making just three of his 14 field goal attempts and one of four free-throw attempts. He finished with seven points and five assists on the night. Isaiah Thomas dominated the Cavs, scoring 26 points and getting to the free throw line 11 times. Gay added 20 points of his own, missing just four of his 12 shot attempts.
Since acquiring Deng, the Cavs had shown much improved effort and defense. On Sunday, they regressed back to their pre-Deng efforts, and it clearly showed, losing by 44 on the road to an improving, but still bad Kings team.