Kings 97, Cavaliers 94

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The Sacramento Kings had won just one road game this season. They'd lost 10 of their last 11 games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, including a 1-5 mark at Quicken Loans Arena.
Neither of those streaks prevented the Kings from prevailing on Wednesday night over the Cavs, 97-94, at Quicken Loans Arena.
Center DeMarcus Cousins powered in 18 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Kings (12-20), who are now 2-13 on road and 1-4 vs. the Eastern Conference. Power forward Justin Thompson added a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Guard John Salmons buried a 3-pointer in front of the Cavs' bench with 52.9 seconds remaining, and the Kings never trailed again. The clutch shot handed the Kings a 92-90 advantage.
On the Cavs' next possession, guard Kyrie Irving slipped in the lane and turned the ball over with 38.1 seconds left. Irving led all scorers with 22 points, five rebounds and six assists.
His 9-foot jumper with 12 seconds left pulled the Cavs (7-26) within two points, 94-92.
Guard Jimmer Fredette drilled two free throws with 12 seconds left gave the Kings a 96-92 advantage. He came into the game leading the NBA in free-throw percentage at .931. Brooks split two free throws with two seconds remaining for a 97-94 lead. Irving missed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer, but the clock had expired.
Swingman Francisco Garcia fired in 14 points and had six rebounds for Sacramento, while Aaron Brooks added 13.
The Cavs lost their third in a row despite guard Dion Waiters adding 20 points in his first game off the bench this season. Swingman C.J. Miles finished with 12 points, all in the first quarter. Forward Alonzo Gee had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
The Cavs shot just 39.1 percent from the field, compared to the Kings' 43.2 percent. The Cavs won the battle of the boards, 50-46.
They outscored the Cavs, 22-18, in the third quarter. The Cavs started the second half by making just 3 of 19 shots.
The Kings extended their lead to 10 points in the third quarter before a late rally by the Cavs. Sacramento held a three-point edge, 74-71, heading into the fourth quarter.
Thompson had five points and five rebounds in the third quarter. He also got Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson in foul trouble. He went to the bench with his fourth personal foul.
The Cavs shot just 28 percent from the field in the third quarter (7 of 25).
Veteran Luke Walton provided a boost to the Cavs at the start of the fourth quarter. He ended with five points, a season-high seven rebounds and three assists.
The Cavs got a huge lift off the bench from Waiters, who erupted for 14 points in the second quarter. The Cavs led by one at halftime, 53-52.
Cousins came close to a double-double at halftime with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Cousins had nine points and six rebounds for the Kings, who opened up a 28-25 lead after the first quarter.
NOTES: The Kings found out guard Tyreke Evans, who has missed the last eight games with a sore left knee, was cleared to play after getting a second opinion Wednesday. "Everything checked out," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "He'll meet us in Toronto. He'll get prepared to start playing again." ... The Cavs made a change to their starting lineup, inserting C.J. Miles at shooting guard in place of Waiters. "I'm trying to find a better balance and make us a better basketball team," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "I'm trying to find a way for (Waiters) to be more effective. Now, he's the guy with the ball in his hand (with the second unit)." ... Kings general manager Geoff Petrie told this week that he won't trade center DeMarcus Cousins, who has been suspended three times this year. "We have a talented, young player that's 22," Smart said. "You don't just put that on the curbside." The 6-foot-11, 270-pounder is averaging 16.5 points and 9.7 rebounds this season. "When Cousins wants to play, he's a force down there," Scott said. ... Both the Cavs and Kings are missing two key performers. Cavs center Anderson Varejao (bruised right knee) and guard Daniel Gibson (concussion) are sidelined. Varejao has missed the last seven games. Besides Evans, the Kings are without guard Marcus Thornton (sprained left ankle), who also missed Wednesday's game. Scott said Gibson has been upgraded in the NBA protocol process. "He can get on the floor and get some shots up," he said. "I don't know if he'll be upgraded to go five-on-five in practice (on Thursday)." ... Scott said he and his wife spent New Year's Eve watching several episodes of "The Walking Dead." He's now a big fan of zombies.

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