Cleveland's slump is similar to last season's, when the Cavs won
their first game after the All-Star break but then lost six
straight. It marked the beginning of a collapse that caused them to
miss the playoffs by a game.
"Right now, it's all, 'Here we go again,'" Cavaliers forward
Donyell Marshall said. "Obviously, with the talk of last year, we
try not to let that affect us, but I think it's affecting us right
The Kings have won eight of their last 11 and are 9-6 since Ron
Artest was acquired from Indiana.
Artest again caused problems for LeBron James, who shot 7-for-21
and was held to 19 points, well below his 30.8 average. James also
had 12 assists and seven rebounds.
"It's not what we did to LeBron, it's what we did to their
team," Artest said.
Artest held James to 19 points on 6-of-20 shooting the last time
they faced each other Nov. 24 in Indiana's 98-76 victory over
"Ron made James work for the shots he got," Kings coach Rick
Adelman said. "One thing Ron makes guys do is work for every shot.
We always wanted someone in his way. He's a great player but we
didn't want him to get to the basket -- we wanted other people to
The Kings, who are 8-20 on the road, took their first lead since
the first quarter on Thomas' pair of free throws with 7:01 left in
the third quarter.
Sacramento scored 35 points in the third quarter, which tied a
season high for points allowed by the Cavaliers.
"We gave them the confidence instead of coming out in the third
quarter and sticking it to them," Marshall said.
The Cavaliers tied it at 80 on Damon Jones' 3-pointer with 9:42
left and took the lead a play later on Ronald Murray's jumper in
Brad Miller and Kevin Martin responded with 3-pointers for the
Kings and Miller added two free throws to make it 90-84 with 5:04
left. Sacramento was 14-of-14 from the line.
The Cavaliers pulled within two on layups from Anderson Varejao
and Murray. But the Kings got a 3-pointer from Bibby and a jumper
from Miller, while stopping Cleveland on four straight possessions,
including Artest's block on Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
"We stayed mentally tough the whole game. That was the best
feeling," Artest said.
Sacramento used only seven players and each scored in double
figures. Miller scored 15 while Artest and Martin had 11. Shareef
Abdur-Rahim and Francisco Garcia also contributed 11 off the bench.
Bibby added 12 assists.
Adelman said the win was an important way for the Kings, who had
won only two of their last 11 road games, to start their five-game
"We came in here and got a huge win," Thomas said. "Nobody
thought we'd win this game."
Murray scored 19 points with four assists in his second game as
a starter and fourth since being traded from Seattle. Ilgauskas
also scored 19.
Marshall shot 2-for-9 for five points a night after shooting
"I definitely take the blame for that," he said. "I haven't
shot the ball well this year. Not just tonight but this year. I've
been very frustrated with myself."
James also has struggled during the losing streak, scoring just
10 total points in the fourth quarter the last four games.
The Cavaliers didn't do much to slow the Kings down, allowing
them to shoot 51 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point
The Kings opened with a 12-4 lead as James and the Cavaliers
made repeated turnovers. But Cleveland responded with a 16-0 run
and led 47-43 at the half.
Garcia sprained his left ankle with 9:10 remaining while
knocking down a dead ball that got stuck on the back of the rim. He
was on crutches in the locker room but X-rays were negative. "It
was stupid of me to do that," Garcia said. "I should have left it
up there, but I'll be all right." ... Cavs F Drew Gooden dropped
the ball under the rim on an easy fast-break layup in the first
half. ... The Cavaliers activated F Ira Newble before the game. He
did not play.