The Cleveland Cavaliers welcome the Sacramento Kings to Ohio on Saturday for the second half of back-to-backs for both teams.
The Cavaliers rolled on Friday in a 123-106 win at Minnesota. Three players recorded double-doubles with Darius Garland scoring 12 points and dishing 12 assists, Jarrett Allen scoring 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds and Kevin Love coming off the bench for 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Cleveland also got 19 points, including 4-of-5 3-point shooting, from Lauri Markkanen.
“It was a team effort from the beginning,” Allen told Bally Sports Cleveland in his postgame interview. “We were moving the ball out; we were making sure everybody was touching it.”
Allen also credited Cleveland’s defense for boosting its offense in the win, the Cavaliers’ second in a row by a double-digit-point margin. Cleveland held Minnesota to just 36-of-92 shooting from the floor and 11-of-39 from behind the 3-point line.
A game earlier in a 115-92 rout of Chicago, the Cavaliers held the Bulls to 7-of-26 shooting from 3-point range and forced 17 turnovers.
“That was the challenge to our team tonight: Can we play 48 minutes of disciplined, purposed basketball? I thought we came close to it,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said in his postgame press conference.
Cleveland, which has won six of its last eight, has held opponents to fewer than 100 points in four of those contests. The Cavaliers have one of the best scoring defenses in the NBA, allowing about 102 points per game.
Sacramento comes into Saturday’s matchup ranked near the bottom of scoring defense, but near the top in scoring offense with more than 111 points per game.
The Kings posted 123 points on Friday in Charlotte despite the absence of Richaun Holmes, who suffered an eye laceration in Wednesday’s win over Orlando.
De’Aaron Fox missed two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining, however, and Sacramento saw its three-game winning streak come to an end in a 124-123 decision.
Fox led six Kings scoring in double figures with 31 points. Terence Davis added 19 points, Marvin Bagley III scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench and Tyrese Haliburton scored all 15 of his points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.
Buddy Hield also scored 15 points, but shot just 6-of-19 from the floor and 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.
“He’s always a threat to be out there. He creates spacing,” Kings interim coach Alvin Gentry said in his postgame press conference. “He’s going through a tough time right now, he’s not shooting the ball well, but he’s always a threat to shoot it.”
Hield had a three-game run of 21, 22 and 25 points on Nov. 22, 24 and 26. In the six games since, he has produced games of four points and five points twice and has shot 6-of-43 from 3-point range combined.
Sacramento will again be without Holmes when it visits Cleveland. Holmes leads the Kings in rebounding at 9.3 per game and is Sacramento’s fourth-leading scorer at 14 points per game.
–Field Level Media