The Cavaliers at long last came up with a winning formula tonight at the Power Balance Arena. One, clutch free throw shooting that came from an unlikely source in J.J. Hickson. He nailed down a few biggies in the final minutes, though he went just 5-of-10 for the evening. Two, An untimely rookie mistake; a DeMarcus Cousins offensive foul with 33.9 seconds to go. That led to Ramon Sessions ‘s layup off the J.J. Hickson pick and roll. Three, Strong defense in the second half. After a disastrous first quarter of 28 points, Cleveland held Sacramento to 23, 23, and 19 respectively. It was the first time the Cavs defense allowed fewer than 20 points since the Golden State game more than a week ago.
Ramon Sessions posted another 20 point performance, Hickson added 17 with 8 rebounds. And Rookie Luke Harangody put up 15.
Cleveland has outscored the lowly Kings 55-46 in the second and third quarters, but the killer first period still is the existing Achilles heal of their performance tonight. An up-roaring offensive attack has the Cavs on the fast track to a potential win tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins continues his smooth footwork in the paint with 11 rebounds to go with 11 points. Cavs killer Marcus Thorton leads all scorers with 18. All five starters for Sacramento are in double digits, Ramon Sessions tops the team with 14; J.J. Hickson and Samardo Samuels are at 12 a piece.
The Cavaliers shot an impressive 55.3% from the field in the first half at Sacramento, one of few encouraging signs in this game, but the Kings put more points on the board. Their 51 bests the Cavs 45 as Cleveland had its best offensive quarter in nearly twelve quarters. The last time the Cavs scored 27 points in a quarter was the opening period Harangody with 11, and Daniel Gibson also contributed 8 off the bench for a total of 19 between the two reserves.
Just five turnovers for the Kings for the half, as anothe3r rookie DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 11 points to go with 8 rebounds. Udrih, Garica, and Marcus Thorton all have 9 points for the Kings.
More so then ever, the Cavaliers needed to get out to a fast start in tonight’s game. They could not start hot, nor could the finish strong, as the Kings ended the first quarter with an 11-2 run. The Sacramento starting five outscored the entire Cav’s team as four players, Marcus Thorton, Beno Udrih, Sam Dalembert, and Francisco Garica scored at least 6 a piece. Despite the Cav’s first quarter shooting percentage of 48%, that only totaled up 18 points. Going back to the Oklahoma City game, it was the first time in the last five quarters that the Cav’s failed to score 20 or more points. They were led by Ramon Sessions with 6, along with 3 rebounds.
It's a battle of the bottom dwellers in the NBA tonight at the Power Balance Pavilion. With Cleveland and Sacramento both being in the 15th slot in their respective conferences, there is much reason to believe that this should be a close game. Though, the Cav's have lost 27 of 28 road games, and average allowing 109 opponent points per game in those losses, the Cavs just might have found themselves a manageable opponent as compared to the Oklahoma City Thunder; assuming the Cavs shut down Kings guard Marcus Thorton.
Thorton scored a career high 37 points against Cleveland on February 23rd with the Hornets in a 109-95 Cavalier loss. He then broke that career mark with his 42 point effort in 129-119 win over Golden State on Monday night. Since being dealt to Sacramento, Thorton has averaged 22.2 points per competition at 49% shooting from the floor in ten games. Thorton is averaging 28.5 points in two games against the Wine and Gold.
It is unknown if the Cavs will be getting help in their effort to slow Thorton down, as point guard Baron Davis ‘s status for tonight is unknown. This will mean an increased work load for Ramon Sessions, whose numbers and minutes have decreased with Davis's acquisition. Over the past two weeks, Sessions is averaging about two and a half points fewer, with one and a half fewer free throw attempts. But in Davis ‘s absence, Cleveland will rely on him heavily tonight as the Cavs struggle for win number thirteen.