The Cleveland Cavaliers tied their longest win streak of the season with their third consecutive win over the Sacramento Kings 109-99 Tuesday night. The Cavaliers won three in a row in early December, but have not been able to achieve that feat since.
The Cavs built the lead to 18 in the game, but found it cut to 84-77 with just under nine and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter. Cleveland responded with a 7-0 run and Sacramento never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
The Cavaliers were led by a game-high 22 points from Luol Deng, who was 9-17 from the field and 4-5 from three point range. Dion Waiters came off the bench for 20 points and eight assists in one of his better games of the season.
Perhaps the biggest and most welcome surprise was the play of Anthony Bennett. The number one overall pick finished the night with 19 points on 6-9 shooting and was 3-3 from behind the three point stripe coming off the Cleveland bench. Kings coach Michael Malone said after the game, "Anthony Bennett kicked our ass."
Because of the play of his teammates – Tristan Thompson finished with a double double of 16 points and 13 rebounds – Kyrie Irving was able to take it relatively easy. He still finished with 13 points and six assists, but didn't seem to be pressing as much because he didn't have to be the guy.
After the game Irving said, "I just feel like everybody was putting too much pressure on themselves before." If the Cavs can continue to play loose, good things can happen.
DeMarcus Cousins was the only King that was able to get going on the night and even he struggled from the field, shooting 5-12. He finished the game with a double double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Cleveland is now 3-0 since firing general manager Chris Grant. Grant's presence may have put the pressure that Irving discussed on this team, who are definitely playing more free-flowing basketball.
This was the first night of a back-to-back for the Cavs who play in Detroit Wednesday night against the Pistons. They will be looking to extend this streak to four games, the longest of the season.
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