Cavs 97, Kings 93
--Eek. Consider this: No Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin or Ron Artest. Kings shoot 55 percent. Kings score 54 points in paint (season high allowed by Cavs). Kings hold Cavs to 38.5 percent shooting. Now consider this: Cavs have season-low nine turnovers. Cavs force a season-high 22 turnovers. Cavs bench scores 37 points. So was this a good game or a bad game for the Cavs? An ugly win, I suppose. --Then again, tonight Dallas only beat Miami without Shaq and Wade by five at home, the Spurs only beat the Knicks by four at home and the Celtics only beat the Grizzlies by four at home. So, it's the NBA, a win is a win. --Anderson Varejao has been playing some high quality basketball over the last three weeks. After looking slow and out of sync in the first few games, he's back in a big way. He's also making jumpers....more jumpers than Sasha Pavlovic has been making. And that's not a joke. Tonight he took two charges and made two big hustle plays to get loose balls in the final minute. --LeBron James scored two points in the fourth quarter in this game, 17 less than the other night against Atlanta. But his impact was almost as big, he had five assists in the fourth. Also, when he turned up his game in the first half when the Cavs were down 12 and got the rest of the team to follow was a big moment. That is leadership right there. He also didn't want to come out of the game as usual to start the second quarter to keep the run going. Several times during the game he was getting on teammates in the huddle as well. During one timeout, Mike Brown didn't even talk, LeBron led the huddle. --Devin Brown has been solid since getting a chance to be in the rotation, which is stable for the moment. By the way, I think he's got five dunks this season and four of them have been against the Kings. --On Daniel Gibson's clutch 3-pointer with 11 seconds left he was lucky to fumble the ball, because it got him space to get the shot off. Don't think it should've come down to that, but it was a big clutch shot. He's established himself as probably the best clutch jump shooter on the team. --Sunday's game at Toronto will be interesting. The Cavs have won four of five, but they did not play good defense tonight. If they don't play good defense up north, they'll get run out of the building.
Kings: Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia, John Salmons, Mikki Moore, Brad Miller Cavs: Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
--LeBron is OK after missing practice with a sore right big toe yesterday. He says he doesn't know how it happened and it won't limit him. We'll see, it may be an excuse not to be aggressive early on. --The Kings are without Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, and Mike Bibby. So there is zero excuse to lose this game. However, the Kings are coming off a win and these are your 07-08 Cavs we are talking about. --Salmons has really picked up the scoring, filling the void. He will shoot from the mid-range and attack the basket. Plus Moore shot about 80 percent against the Cavs in the playoffs for the Nets last season.
Halftime -- Cavs 49, Kings 49
--The first quarter was about the lowest effort level the Cavs shown all year. They allowed 24 points in the paint and were beaten to every lose ball. LeBron was so angry that he refused to come out to start the second quarter and his energy turned things around. He created three straight turnovers and it turned the lead from 12 down to four in about a minute of court time. He was showing leadership there. --The Cavs forced seven turnovers in the second quarter and they had 10 fastbreak points, which got the game back even. They are now showing more energy. Then again, the dreaded third quarter awaits. --LeBron has 19 points on just nine shots. His outside shot is falling and he's been aggressive for the most part. Could be another big night. The Cavs are 9-4 when he score more than 30 points. --Sasha and Larry are right back on normal pace, they are 2-of-13. On one possession late in the first half, LeBron was in midair and he had both Sasha and Larry open. What a decision! He picked Larry...he missed. --The Cavs halftime shows at home this season have been really, really lame. They have cut the budget big time. A few weeks ago, it was Mr. Slinky. Right now there is someone doing trick pool shots. Seriously.
Stars LeBron, 24 points, 10 assists, five steals Ilgauskas, 14 points, 15 rebounds Daniel Gibson, 13 points John Salmons, 22 points, seven rebounds
Quotes Reggie Theus: "We have all the built-in excuses we need...but I can't help but thinking we gave them a gift. I think we outplayed them." Mike Brown: "We found a way to win the game. We lost the hustle game at times but we won enough catagories to win." LeBron: "I just took what the defense gave me. Our bench did a great job of coming in and bringing energy.