With less than two minutes to play, Kyrie Irving attempted a spin move and was stripped by DeMarcus Cousins, who took the play down the floor for an easy lay up. The two-point bucket by the Kings big man was the icing on the cake for a game that was incredibly frustrating to watch from start to finish. The Cavaliers lost at Sleep Train Arena by a score of 124-118. Rookie sixth man Dion Waiters led Cleveland with 33 points, while Cousins led the Kings with 26 points. Irving also added 15 points for the Wine and Gold.
The first quarter set a real tone for the rest of the game, as both Cleveland and Sacramento got hot on the offensive end of the floor. In fact, in the first quarter alone, the Cavaliers shot 10-of-21 from the field and the Kings shot 12-of-22. With Sacramento being more active early on, the Cavaliers fell behind. They did not help themselves, as they made several dumb mistakes. For example, Luke Walton missed a rebound that was scooped up and put in the hole by the Kings. At the end of one, the Kings led 31-24 at the end of the first quarter.
The second period saw the Kings continuing to get easy looks, as they extended their lead to 13 early on in the quarter. In the same quarter, the Cavaliers struggled throughout, but were even worse without Irving in the lineup. The only highlight of the quarter came when C.J. Miles scored seven in row, including a dagger of a three pointer. But in typical Cavaliers fashion, they gave up five quick points and were again down double figures to the Kings. At the end of the quarter, the Cavaliers were down by a score of 69-57.
The play remained sloppy in the third, continuing to perform poorly on both ends of the floor. Outside of an 11-4 run that brought them within five, nothing good happened for the Cavaliers. They continued to make dumb mistakes (as evidenced by Walton committing a foul at the end of an expiring shot clock), and just looked sluggish as a whole. And no matter how close they got on the scoreboard, the Cavs were always turned away by the Kings. To make matters worse, outside of Waiters, no Cavalier played a quality quarter of basketball.
The fourth, like the third, saw the Cavaliers make runs and pull within a few points. But every time they got close, the Kings would come up with a timely rebound or bucket to quell any Cavalier surge. The Cavaliers did not help themselves either, as they let the Kings crash the offensive boards and shoot open threes from the wing. With two minutes to play, the Cavaliers had a real chance to tie the game, and ended up turning the ball over. Sans a late run, the Cavaliers lost by six points.
The one bright spot tonight was the play of Waiters. The Philadelphia native played the best game of his young NBA career tonight. Without Irving or Miles every really catching fire, Waiters really asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with. Looking more comfortable as the Cavalier sixth man, Cleveland at least can know that their rookie may be finally hitting his stride.
The Cavaliers next take the floor against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at 10 p.m.