CLEVELAND: The Cleveland Cavaliers (16-9) hosted the Sacramento Kings (13-10) for the teams’ second matchup this season. The Kings had beaten the Cavs 127-120 on November 9th in Sacramento, so the Cavs were looking to even the score on their home turf. After a scrappy, competitive battle by both teams from start to finish, the Kings emerged victorious, 106-95. This was only the Cavs’ second loss on their home court this season.
The Kings are not a team to underestimate, as they rank 5th in offensive rating while averaging 115.9 points per game. Coming into this matchup they had won three out of their last five games, their only losses being against the 18-6 Milwaukee Bucks and the 16-9 Phoenix Suns. Though the Cavs kept up with them and battled back until the final minute, unfortunately they couldn’t get it done.
Cavs Starting Five
Darius Garland, Caris LeVert, Lamar Stevens, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen made up the Cavs’ starting five. LeVert got the starting nod in place of Donovan Mitchell who is out with lower right leg soreness. This is the first of a back-to-back set for the Cavs, so Mitchell’s next opportunity to play will come Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Love (back) is also listed out.
Caris LeVert & Lamar Stevens in the #Cavs starting lineup tonight, alongside Darius Garland, Evan Mobley & Jarrett Allen.
Donovan Mitchell (lower leg soreness) and Kevin Love (low back soreness) are both out tonight.
Tip-off is set for 7:30PM on @BallySportsCLE. Come join us!
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 9, 2022
The Cavs found themselves in an early deficit in the first quarter. The Kings were shooting lights out from the perimeter, starting the game 6/6 from three. Despite being without their leading scorer De’Aaron Fox (foot), 21 of the Kings’ 31 first quarter points came from behind the arc and the Cavs struggled to keep up.
The Cavs ramped up their aggressive approach and chipped away at the Kings’ lead. Garland had 11 points in the second quarter, with nine of them coming from three. Perhaps the Cavs’ biggest asset, Jarrett Allen’s interior defense on Domantas Sabonis, was critical in limiting points in the paint. The Cavs took advantage of the Kings’ missed free throws and forced turnovers, outscoring the Kings 29-18 in the third. The Cavs overcame a 15-point deficit and tied it up at 49 heading into halftime.
All knotted at 49 here at halftime. 11 points from DG in the 2nd quarter helped propel the Cavs back into this one.
Cedi Osman has 12 off the bench. Kings bench has 11.
Sabonis has a first half double-double with 12 points, 11 boards.
— Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) December 10, 2022
The Cavs saw their first lead of the game early into the third quarter. Caris LeVert stepped up big time as he scored 11 of his 22 points in the third. Check out this crafty spin move as he’s driving to the basket:
I think LeVert is getting comfortable in Cleveland pic.twitter.com/bPMgNkPM1F
— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) December 10, 2022
Another play you have to see to believe came in the form of a Cedi Osman chasedown block on Trey Lyles with just under a minute left to go:
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) December 10, 2022
The Cavs soon found themselves up by seven, but a pair of back-to-back threes by the Kings cut their lead to just one heading into the final 12 minutes.
Fourth Quarter all Kings
The fourth quarter started off strong for the Cavs, going on a 10-0 run and at the same time locking down on defense. Despite Allen sitting for the first half of the quarter with four fouls, the Cavs were beginning to find a steady pace.
That is, until the Kings got hot from the field again and went on a 19-0 run to close the game. It was at this point that the Cavs’ offense simply couldn’t keep up and began to get sloppy again with the ball–making bad passes and missing shots. The Kings were able to contain Garland in the fourth quarter which ultimately stunted a Cavs comeback, and the absence of Mitchell was sorely felt in the last quarter. The Cavs just couldn’t make those same clutch plays that the Kings had, and Osman was the only productive player off the bench. The Cavs must find a way to close out these close games going forward.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 10, 2022
Caris LeVert: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
Darius Garland: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists
Evan Mobley: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Cedi Osman: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
The Cavs will look to bounce back as they take on the Thunder (11-14) in Cleveland on Saturday, December 10th. Tip-off is at 7:30 PM, and tickets can be purchased through SeatGeek.
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