The Sacramento Kings (18-25) defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (16-27) 119-105 on Monday night. The Kings led for nearly the whole game, and were up by as much as 18 in the third quarter.
Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton got out to a fast start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. He finished with a new career-high 28 points, strengthening his claim to Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Center Richaun Holmes, bucking for a new contract in Sacramento, finished with 17 points and a whopping 16 rebounds. Holmes, who has been shooting more than 60% from the field this season, finished 8-for-9 against the Cavs.
The Cavaliers’ only bright spot came from Nevada alumnus JaVale McGee, who scored 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench, adding 9 rebounds. Only two Cavs starters finished with double digit points. Starting guard Collin Sexton finished with 15 points, well short of his season average of 24.2. Sexton scored 27.1 over the last ten games while the Cavs went 5-5.
STAR OF THE GAME
While basically the whole Kings squad deserves credit for this win, the star once again was De’Aaron Fox. Fox recovered from his weak appearance Saturday against the Sixers to finish with 30 points, six assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Fox shot 13-for-23 from the field–good for 56.5%.
He’ll never shatter career records this way, but that’s not what the Kings should be looking for right now. If they get this kind of balanced production on both ends for the rest of Fox’s career, they’ll never have to worry about who’s going to play point guard.
Richaun Holmes deserves all the mentions he can get, especially here. He continues to be a rebound machine, and he added two blocks to the mix as well. He’s proving to all reasonable people in Sacramento that he has the chops to be a formidable center in this league.
But I think this category has to go to Tyrese Haliburton for setting a new career-high in points. He didn’t break the bank in any other statistical category, but it is encouraging to see him find his shooting stroke. Since being moved from the bench into the starting two-guard spot he has struggled to score. He had only four points in a win against the Celtics, and scored 11 on 5-for-12 in their crushing Saturday night loss to the Sixers.
His 28 marks a return-to-form, and he shot 73%, including four-out-of-five from beyond the arc. We’ve been hearing all season that this young man has a lot of upside, and now that he’s getting starter’s minutes we’re getting to see it.
Ball-handling and ball-control still seem to be problems. The Kings started this game sloppy, but gained enough momentum later to simply outscore the Cavs, who couldn’t seem to hit anything. As a team, the Kings gave up sixteen turnovers in this game, and a lot of that was due simply to sloppy dribbling or bad passing.
They still have problems with fundamentals, and any opponent that focuses on forcing turnovers will have a field day. The Sixers, one of the better defensive teams in basketball, did so on Saturday to the tune of 129 points.
It seems the current starting lineup of Fox/Haliburton/Hield/Barnes/Holmes is on the upswing, though. We will see if this lineup makes it beyond the end of this week, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Split the six-game roadie, now back to the shack…
vs Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, March 24th, 7:00 PM PT
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Kings Rule Kings Rule Kings Rule
Ryan Dawley is a jack-of-all-trades writer, producing work in the fields of journalism, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, technical writing, and academic writing. He has been a fan of the Sacramento Kings since they snuck into the first round of the 1999 playoffs, when they nearly defeated the defending Western Conference champion Utah Jazz. His work for the Peach Basket has been covering all things Kings since February 2021. When he’s not writing, Ryan is usually absorbing the ins and outs of drawing, photography, and design; or he may be found thumping his bass guitar in front of the television. He was born and resides in Reno, NV.