December 28, 2017, 12:21 am
The Kings, led by their bench, put together a great performance to top the Cavs in Sacramento 109-95 on Wednesday night.
Sacramento deployed a different starting lineup tonight with Frank Mason and Malachi Richardson slotting into the mix. It was the first NBA start of their careers and the unit as a whole played just over five minutes together before Dave Joerger went to the bench. The Kings were fouling a lot early on and didn’t have much going offensively, falling into a 15-8 hole.
The bench came in and helped steady the ship. The play on both ends seemed to balance out as the Cavs went into a field goal drought and couldn’t hit anything, while the Kings found their footing on the offensive end. Sacramento went on a nice run to close out the first quarter and managed to grab a 28-27 lead.
The bench unit, particularly Bogdan Bogdanovic who had five points and three assists, breathed life into the Kings through the first 12 minutes and it helped erase a bad start to the game.
The Kings carried their momentum into the second quarter as they continued to hit their stride offensively. They opened up a 60-47 lead with around four minutes left in the half but the Cavs managed to rally in the final minutes cutting the deficit to 62-55 at halftime.
Sacramento’s bench had 39 points through 24 minutes which is superb. There was a clear shift in momentum when the bench came in and they managed to stay one step ahead of the Cavs for the duration of the second quarter.
The starting lineup began the third quarter and the Cavs quickly capitalised taking a 67-66 lead three minutes in. Cleveland hit four 3-pointers out of the gate in the second half and this unit was experiencing much of the same problems they were to begin the game.
Joerger wasted no time in putting the bench back in as Bogdanovic and Cauley-Stein promptly entered in the third. Unsurprisingly they helped steady the ship and Sacramento regained the lead, 79-74 with just under three minutes left in the quarter. The Kings ultimately held a 85-80 lead through three quarters.
With Bogdanovic, Cauley-Stein and Carter still in the game the Kings continued to stick it to the Cavs, leading 109-92 with just over two minutes left in the game. The Kings were hitting their stride tonight led by a tremendous effort by the bench.
They were hitting big shot after big shot down the stretch and in the end, the Cavs had no answer for the red hot Kings. Sacramento shot 51.9 percent from the field on the night including 40 percent from deep on the night.
- Sacramento’s bench was absolutely superb in this one totalling 68 points. There was a clear shift in momentum whenever the bench unit was in the game and they were the sole reason the Kings managed to pull off the upset.
- Vince Carter went off for a season-high 24 points to go with five rebounds and three assists. Carter shot 10-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from three. He deservedly received a standing ovation upon his exit late in the fourth.
- Bogdanovic commanded the second unit with a career-high eight assists along with 16 points, three rebounds and four steals. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep.
- Cauley-Stein was also instrumental off the bench dropping 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. WCS and Bogi continue to display a unique partnership and that doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.
- LeBron James did his thing dropping a triple double but it just wasn’t enough. James posted 16 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists and five steals for a great stat line.
The Kings will be back in action on Friday against the Suns. This will be the third time these teams have met this season, and so far the previous two meetings have been split. It’s a game the Kings can win, especially considering they’ll have home court advantage, so they can’t afford to take the Suns lightly.