Game 40: Cavs at Kings
Sleep Train Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: Where do we start? Let's start on the defensive end. The Kings' point total is a season high for a Cavs' opponent. They also shot 51.2 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from the 3-point line and 87.9 percent from the foul line.
Once again, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was a load with 26 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals. He's a major talent.
He's also a major pain in the you-know-what. He earned a flagrant-1 foul for hitting Cavs center Tyler Zeller in the face with 7:50 left in the third quarter.
For much of the game, Cousins punked Zeller. Zeller, a rookie from North Carolina, finally started to hold his ground and fight in the post. The 7-footer ended with 13 points, six rebound and a career-high four blocks.
Two Cavs players were outstanding. Shooting guard Dion Waiters erupted for a career-high 33 points and five assists. He kept them in the game in the late going. He made 12 of 18 from the field, 3 of 3 from the 3-point line and 6 of 8 from the foul line.
He drove to the basket strong in the game. It resembled a layup drill for a while. The 12 field goals made are also a career high.
Waiters' breakout game was needed since Kyrie Irving had an off night. He committed turnovers on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth quarter. That just about iced it for the Kings.
Irving had 15 points, four assists and three steals. On the downside, he shot 6 of 19 from the field and committed six turnovers. That can't continue.
Also, power forward Tristan Thompson didn't back down from the Kings' talented frontcourt. Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds. It was his 13th double-double of the season. I was quite impressed with Thompson's game. He fought under the basket and guarded Cousins for some of the game.
The Cavs are 1-12 on the second night of a back-to-back set this season. This is a young team. It's not easy to win on the road, much less in a road back-to-back. The Cavs haven't mastered it yet, that's for sure.
Fox Sports Ohio announcer Austin Carr had an interesting comment during a recent game. He said players have to learn how to play when they're tired. Some players, once they're tired, stop playing. They have to eventually learn how to push through that threshold. The good ones do. The bad ones don't.
The Cavs are currently in that latter group.
They are 0-3 on their five-game, 12-day road trip. The last thing they want to do is finish 0-5 on this road trip. They'll be underdogs in Portland and Utah on the last two legs of the trip.
The Kings are 11-10 at Sleep Train Arena this season. By the way, when did they change their name from Arco Arena?
The Cavs scored 61 points in the second half on Monday, yet still lost by six points.
The Cavs had a six-game winning streak snapped against the Kings in Sacramento. The Kings hadn't won against the Cavs in Sacramento since Jan. 20, 2005. They now lead the all-time series, 54-53.
KYRIE'S TIME COMING?: I believe Irving is going to make the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The Sporting News' Sean Deveney agrees with that sentiment.
LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, 113-93.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Portland at 10 p.m. Wednesday at Rose Garden.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. John Salmons (6-6, 207)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Justin Thompson (6-11, 250)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. DeMarcus Cousins (6-11, 270)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 222) vs. Tyreke Evans (6-6, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Isaiah Thomas (5-9, 185)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao
Kings - F Tyler Honeycutt
Tony Brothers, Derek Richardson, Michael Smith