Kings finish strong in loss to Cavs despite terrible start


The Kings' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night was a tale of two halves. 

In their 117-103 loss in Cleveland, the Kings finished the game strong despite an utterly putrid first half where they were outscored 81-52 heading into halftime. 

Down by nearly 30 points at the beginning of the third quarter, the Kings did not let this game slip further and further away. In fact, the very same defense that was undoubtedly awful in the first half, finished strong and held the Cavs to just 36 points in the remaining two quarters. 

A night-and-day difference from the 81 they surrendered in the first half. 

The Cavs are a notoriously big team and it was clear that Sacramento struggled to match their size in the first half, but found a way in the second half. Set to face off against the Toronto Raptors on Monday night -- another notoriously big team -- the Kings will look to carry over the momentum they created in the second half, into their game against the Raptors. 

"It means a lot," Damian Jones told reporters postgame. "It gains momentum going into the next game. You want to have a good ending, so seeing guys play hard hopefully that carries over to the next game and that energy carries over.

"Overall I think we just need to lock back in defensively. We're capable, we have the players to do so. It just takes one instance and it'll kick-start from there." 


Rookie Davion Mitchell, already a young defensive star in the league, noticed a difference in his own level of play in each of the two halves. 

"For me, I just got to do a better job of getting better ball pressure," Mitchell said. "I feel like sometimes I kind of get away from that, especially throughout the beginning of the game. The second half of the game I showed the ball pressure and it kind of changed the game a little bit. I just gotta do a better job of doing that in the first half, giving energy to my team. It's hard, losing is hard, but we're going to get better."

The Kings can't seem to get out of their own way. It's always one step forward, two steps backward. 

Despite the many frustrating losses this season and the inability to build on any type of winning streak, Sacramento is not giving up. 

"We're not quitters, I can tell you that right now," Interim coach Alvin Gentry said. "We're going to keep battling our ass off and we'll find a way to get through this. I can promise you that."

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The Kings will face the Raptors on Monday at 4 p.m. PST before returning home for a three-game homestand.