CLEVELAND (AP) — Jason Thompson and the Sacramento Kings overcame their shortcomings for a rare road win.
Thompson had 19 points and 10 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins added 18, leading the Kings to their second road win of the season, a 97-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
"We've got enough talent to win on the road, but we're not strong enough yet to recognize it's about patience and playing the clock, as well as what happens when you have the ball," Kings coach Keith Smart said.
John Salmons' 3-pointer from the corner with 52.9 seconds remaining gave Sacramento the lead for good, 92-90. The win broke a seven-game losing streak away from home for the Kings, who are 2-13 on the road and played without injured guards Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, their second and third leading scorers. The Kings' previous road win was a 99-80 victory over Portland on Dec. 8.
Salmons' clutch shot came after Kyrie Irving's two free throws gave Cleveland a 90-89 lead with 1:12 remaining. As the Kings worked for a shot the Cavaliers double-teamed Cousins, who found Salmons open in the right corner.
"John couldn't really find his game tonight, but he made a big shot when we needed it at the end," Smart said. "DeMarcus did a nice job of finding him when the Cavs came at him."
"I feel like when this team shares the basketball, we're hard to beat," Cousins said. "That's my reason for doing it. I want to win games."
Irving scored 22 points to lead Cleveland, which has lost nine of 11 and is 3-11 at Quicken Loans Arena, where it has dropped five straight. After Salmons' crucial basket, Irving committed a turnover that led to Aaron Brooks' layup for a 94-90 lead.
"It's just a learning process," Irving said. "We did a great job of competing in the fourth quarter and getting stops when we needed to, but one mistake by myself when I slip in the middle of the lane, it's a turnover. ... That's the game."
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, the league's leading rebounder, missed his seventh straight game with a bruised right knee. Cousins, who had 16 rebounds, sparked a dominant frontcourt performance by Sacramento, which outscored Cleveland 52-36 in the paint.