After the streak ended, the Cavaliers faced the Kings
Donovan Mitchell continues his California reunion tour as his new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, make a stop in the state capital to take on the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
After playing his first five seasons with the Utah Jazz, while making three All-Star teams, Mitchell is making his first Western Conference swing since being dealt in September to the Cavaliers for three players and three future first-round picks draft pick.
The 26-year-old has lived up to the huge prize so far, averaging 31.2 points per game — fourth best in the NBA — while scoring 30 or more points seven times in his nine games.
His sixth and seventh of those 30-point outings came in a two-day stop in Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday, where he had 33 in a 114-100 win over the Lakers and 30 in a 119-117 loss to the Clippers.
After Wednesday’s performance in Sacramento, the Cavs will complete their California swing in Golden State on Friday.
With plenty of support from Darius Garland (19.0 points per game), Jarrett Allen (13.5 points, 12.2 rebounds) and Evan Mobley (15.2 points, 1.6 blocks), Mitchell has led the Cavaliers to a record at 8-2, the second best. mark in the NBA behind Milwaukee’s 9-1.
The Cavaliers had won eight in a row before Monday’s narrow defeat at the hands of the Clippers. There are still lessons learned early in the season when coach JB Bickerstaff saw his team blow a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“We had the game where we wanted it, but we just didn’t close it out,” Bickerstaff said. – This is a match we should have won.
The Kings walked off the Golden State court in San Francisco on Monday and also thought they let one get away. Or at least there was one who should have gone into overtime.
Down 116-113 with 1.3 seconds left and in the frontcourt after a timeout, the Kings thought they saw Kevin Huerter get hacked by Klay Thompson on a 34-foot, 3-point attempt that went bad.
Afterward, new Kings coach Mike Brown partly blamed the lack of respect the Sacramento franchise receives after being an NBA non-entity for more than two decades.
“I just want, at the end of the game, somebody to step up and make the right call,” Brown said. “A guy gets hit on the arm and shoots a 3; that’s a foul.
“I feel bad for the guys. It’s tough being a Sacramento King.”
Earlier, the Kings had put themselves in a position to win for the fourth time in five games, racing out to as many as 12 points.
Sacramento had defeated the Cavaliers five straight before a 2-0 Cleveland sweep last season.
The Kings haven’t fared nearly as well against Mitchell, whose Jazz teams went 12-2 against Sacramento in games he played. Mitchell scored 22 or more points in 13 of those 14 head-to-heads, with a high of 42 in a home win in April 2021.