Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ 129-110 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Fox and Hield carry Kings
De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield turned in impressive performances for Sacramento. Good thing, too, because the Kings’ defense was uninspired and their bench offered very little in terms of production until late in the fourth quarter.
Fox and Hield came out gunning, combining for 13 points in the first 6:10 to help the Kings (13-11) race out to a 24-9 lead in the opening period. The Cavaliers (5-20) battled back and took the lead on a couple of occasions in the second and third quarters, but Fox and Hield had an answer every time Cleveland made a charge.
Fox finished with 30 points and 12 assists. He made 12 of 16 field-goal attempts and 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
He was one point shy of his career high for scoring when he left the game for good with 6:22 to play in the fourth quarter and his team leading 113-95. Fox joined James Harden, Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday as the only players to have two games with at least 30 points and 10 assists this season.
Hield scored 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He was 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Back to ‘Believeland’
Iman Shumpert enjoyed a triumphant if unspectacular return to Cleveland, where he spent parts of four seasons and played a key role in helping the “Believeland” Cavaliers win the first NBA championship in franchise history in 2016.
Shumpert appeared in 54 games that season, averaging 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds. In 2016-17, Shumpert started 31 of his 76 games for Cleveland, posting 7.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Shumpert has emerged as a leader this season in Sacramento on and off the court, where he has started 19 of the 21 games in which he has played, averaging 9.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. He has also been the team’s best defender, often drawing difficult assignments against the opposition’s most dangerous wing player.
“He’s been good,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “(He) gives you a guy to put on somebody. It’s a tough matchup for him every single night, and a lot of times he might be at a height difference, but he goes out and fights like crazy and leads with his professionalism.”
Shumpert finished with six points and four rebounds Friday.
Cavs go from bad to worse
LeBron James is long gone. Kevin Love has been out of the lineup since late October with a toe injury. Still, it’s stunning to see how fast the Cavaliers have fallen to the depths of the Eastern Conference after reaching the NBA Finals each of the past four years.
The Cavs might have gone from bad to worse — at least in the short term — shortly before tipoff Friday night when they traded away former Kings point guard George Hill and Sam Dekker in a reported three-team deal involving the Washington Wizards. In return, Cleveland received Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and two future draft picks.
The Cavaliers acquired Hill last season in the trade that sent Shumpert to Sacramento. Hill averaged 10.3 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 43 games for the Kings.