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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Game 37: Cavs at Kings

Sleep Train Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED?: Maybe this playoff push might not happen after all.

This was an absolute embarrassment. This isn't the Oklahoma City Thunder the Cavs were playing. It was a team that was 10 games under .500 at the beginning of the day. They are one of the worst teams in the Western Conference.

The Kings just dismantled the Cavs. They pounded them on the boards. They held the Cavs to 38.8 percent shooting from the field.

Most notably, they stopped Kyrie Irving, who shot 3 of 14 from the field en route to seven points. Irving was totally outplayed by Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas, who finished with 26 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals.

The Cavs haven't proven they can win without a big night from Irving. He just didn't show up on Sunday.

The Cavs got 72 points from Irving, C.J. Miles, Jarrett Jack and Dion Waiters in their win over Utah on Friday. That quartet managed 27 on Sunday. The four of them barely outscored the Kings' 5-9 point guard, 27-26, in the game.

Cavs forward Luol Deng managed 12 points and five rebounds. He was really no factor in the game. He did bump knees with a Kings player and took a seat for good in the third quarter.

Kings power forward Jason Thompson really put a hurting on the Cavs with eight points, a game-high 16 rebounds and two blocks. The power forward matchup with Tristan Thompson was a complete mismatch. Tristan Thompson had six points and three rebounds.

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented big men the Cavs will face this year. The 6-11, 270-pounder is seventh in the NBA in scoring (23.5 points per game), fifth in rebounding (11.5) and sixth in steals (1.91). Only Minnesota's Kevin Love can match those numbers in the entire NBA.

Cousins ended with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

This guy is a load. The Kings get up and down the court and score points in bunches. They've scored 100 or more points in 12 consecutive games. They did whatever they wanted to do against the Cavs.

The Kings bring shooting guard Ben McLemore, their first-round pick, off the bench. I really wanted to get a look at this kid. I thought the Cavs had some interest in him with the No. 1 overall pick. Instead, they picked Anthony Bennett. Let's just say Bennett needs some polishing. McLemore ended with nine points.

Kings coach Mike Malone spent five seasons in Cleveland as an assistant coach with the Cavs under Mike Brown. They know each other well. Malone, the son of former Cavs interim head coach Brendan Malone, got the best of this matchup on Sunday. He had the Kings ready to play.

Also, Chris Jent is on his staff. He was an assistant with the Cavs and Ohio State before joining Malone.

The Kings now have won three in a row for the first time in two seasons. The Cavs had a two-game winning streak snapped. They are now 3-16 on the road.

They know it's time to make their move if they are going to make it. Other teams like Brooklyn and New York are also starting to pick it up, so this was an important game. The 44-point loss was their most lopsided of the season, but not a team record. That came in Los Angeles during a 55-point defeat the Lakers a couple years ago. Strangely enough, that's where they are headed next.

The Kings have now won three in a row over the Cavs. In fact, they may be a better team.

The Cavs are 1-1 on their five-game, eight-day West Coast trip.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at Staples Center.

SF Luol Deng (6-9, 220) vs. Rudy Gay (6-8, 230)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Jason Thompson (6-11, 250)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. DeMarcus Cousins (6-11, 270)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Marcus Thornton (6-4, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Isaiah Thomas (5-9, 185)
Cavs - C Henry Sims, G Carrick Felix
Kings - F Carl Landry
Ken Mauer, Kevin Cutler, Tre Maddox


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