SACRAMENTO, CALIF.: Mike Brown has warned all season the Cavaliers may have more beatings in store, but no one was expecting this. Not against the woeful Kings, who have played better of late, but still remain one of the worst teams in the league.
Yet there were the Kings shooting uncontested 3-pointers, slicing down the middle of the lane and having their way with a Cavs team that essentially quit during a 124-80 loss Sunday.
It was the worst loss of the season, the worst loss since a 55-point loss at the Los Angeles Lakers three years ago and the sixth-worst loss in franchise history (according to Elias Sports Bureau). It was also the worst loss ever to the Kings, smashing the previous record of 28 points set in 1979, when the franchise was still in Kansas City.
Cleveland trailed 59-50 at the half, but was embarrassed in the second half as the Kings made nearly as many 3-pointers (10) as the Cavs had total baskets (11).
“I never thought it would be like this again,” said Brown, whose team has also lost games this season by 29 and 30 points. “But knowing my team, it could happen again to us. You hope it doesn’t. You hope tonight is a lesson learned.”
Brown was most upset that players seemed to lie down when shots stopped falling. As the Kings gained the momentum in the second half, Brown thought the Cavs initially tried catching up by out-shooting the Kings. When it was apparent that wasn’t going to work, the Kings poured it on, increasing the lead to 46 points in the fourth quarter.
“The only thing we need to think about is how did we react when we were down? Did we fight or not?” Brown said. “We didn’t fight. That’s disappointing. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again, but I don’t know. I’m not sure with this team yet.”
Players seemed to be sulking throughout the game. When Brown pulled Dion Waiters following a turnover in the first half, Waiters threw his hands in the air as if he was surprised to be coming out of the game. He went and sat at the end of the bench, then assistant coach Jim Boylan could be seen walking down and encouraging Waiters to join the team huddle during the next timeout — although Waiters denied it.
“No he didn’t,” Waiters said. “I’m going to support my teammates no matter what if I’m playing good or not.”
A loss of this magnitude seemed surprising only because the Cavs seemed to be playing better, particularly since acquiring Luol Deng and winning two straight. All of that progress was detonated with one lousy performance.
“If you’re trying to be in this league a long time, you’re going to have many days where you’re not playing your best,” Deng said. “What I asked of everyone is just to have each other’s back. If you say something to somebody on the court, it can never be personal. We’re on the same team, we’re going to battle together.”
C.J. Miles had 14 points, Deng had 12 points and Anderson Varejao had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Kyrie Irving had seven points, Waiters had four points and the two guards combined to shoot 4-for-21.
“We should focus every night on our defense,” Deng said. “There’s so many guys who can score and that’s the way we have to switch our mindset, not thinking we’re going to outscore teams, but actually having the mindset we’re going to stop teams.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.