Just when the Cavaliers offense looked at its best under Byron Scott, the Sacramento Kings rallied to take a 107-104 victory at the Q Saturday night. It was a classic third quarter debacle that did in Cleveland again, falling apart after taking an impressive 14-point halftime advantage.
Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson and the guards led the charge in that first half, showcasing Scott’s new transition style with 67 quick points. Unfortunately, the pace slowed down from there as Sacramento adjusted to the scheme defensively, controlled the rebounding game, and won 31-15 in that third quarter en route to the final win.
Still plenty to learn for Cleveland as the team prepares for Mo Williams’ season debut Tuesday against Atlanta. Now let’s cover the rest of this Sacramento game in abbreviated form:
- As I said above, the guards deserve the credit for the first half success. John Krolik from Cavs: The Blog even pointed out this awesome first half Sessions/Gibson stat: 25 points with 9 assists. When those play under control offensively, it is easy to see the vision for how Scott wants this transition style to operate. Overall, this was clearly the highlight of the season for these two players and it could be even more exciting with Williams joining soon. Final stats on the night for these two: 41 points on 17-for-29 shooting, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 turnovers and 3 steals.
- Credit again must be shown to Anthony Parker. As quietly as it occurred yet again, he had a productive night against a difficult set of guards for the Kings. AP collected 12 points on his 9 shots in 31 minutes, and when overall your three main guards can contribute an efficient 53 points like what happened Saturday, you are going to be in a competitive position at the end of the game.
- Scrolling down the stats some more, I love seeing those 27 fast break points for Cleveland against just 13 for Sacramento. Sure, the majority of that difference came in the first half, but that will certainly but how the Cavs will need to compete this year. The issue in the third quarter and the second half was rebounding and defense, as the Kings adjusted and the Cavs couldn’t run all over the place anymore.
- Solid yet not spectacular productivity again from J.J. Hickson. If 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 28 minutes counts as an average night for him this season, then I think most fans and front office folks will be quite satisfied. He can have his games like he did against Boston on opening night, but with Mo Williams returning and Sessions/Gibson playing as well as they did tonight, Hickson is back to being a secondary offensive weapon.
- After just three games, the Cavs have been out-scored 29.3 to 18.0 combined in the third quarter. In all other quarters, the average score is a much more reasonable 25.1 to 23.0 in Cleveland’s favor. Byron Scott had this to say about that third quarter according to our very own Brendan Bowers: “I gotta look at what we’re doing when we come out in the third quarter. I gotta look at how we’re warming up, are we flip out there, are we serious, I don’t know yet and I gotta take a look at it myself.”
- The Kings are an interesting match up for the Cavs this year, and are much more similar than most people would think. Sure Sacramento is an up-and-coming franchise with young players like Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi and DeMarcus Cousins, but it’s essentially an raw team that will struggle with consistency. That’s how the Cavs will be on most nights, and tonight was an example of how that inconsistency can breed frustrating defeats.
Photo above via AP Photo/Amy Sancetta