Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/2/13
CLEVELAND -- Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins isn't exactly a choir boy. He's been suspended three times this season. But when the 6-foot-11, 270-pounder shows up ready to play, he's one of the top big men in the Western Conference. Cousins had 18 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and one block in the Kings' 97-94 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday before an announced crowd of 12,331 at Quicken Loans Arena. "I've been trying to keep out the negativity," Cousins said. "Trying not to bring anymore negativity to the team and trying to have a positive mind. "I have a fresh start for the new year, so we'll put that behind us and bring some positivity to Sacramento." Kings general manager Geoff Petrie told nba.com this week that he wasn't going to trade Cousins. "We have a talented, young player that's 22," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "You don't just put that on the curbside." The entire Kings front line was impressive Wednesday. Power forward Justin Thompson added a team-high 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Cavs guard Kyrie Irving had a game-high 22 points, five rebounds and six assists. However, he had all three of his turnovers in the final 3 minutes, 50 seconds. The Cavs (7-26) trailed by just two points, 92-90, after Kings swingman John Salmons buried a 3-pointer directly in front of the Cavs' bench. Irving drove into the lane and slipped. He tried to pass the ball to teammate Alonzo Gee, but it bounced out of bounds with 38.1 seconds remaining. "One mistake by myself, when I slipped, cost us," Irving said. "I was going to stop and pop. I just ended up slipping. It's a learning process." The Cavs, who have lost three in a row, just can't seem to close out tight games. They are just 2-9 this year in games decided by four points or fewer. They haven't been able to win at home, either, and are 3-11 at The Q. "Our guys competed and played hard," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "We just didn't play hard enough." The Kings (12-20) came into the game with an embarrassing 1-13 road record, 0-4 vs. the Eastern Conference. The Cavs had beaten the Kings in 10 of their last 11 meetings. None of that mattered when Kings guard Aaron Brooks blew past Irving on Sacramento's next possession for a 94-90 lead with 18.2 seconds left. The Cavs' downfall came in the third quarter when they were outscored, 22-18. They started the second half by making 3 of 19 shots. "We can't afford to take a quarter off," Scott said. Scott tried to jump start the team by inserting hot-shooting C.J. Miles at shooting guard and bringing rookie Dion Waiters off the bench. The move looked great when Miles scored 12 points in the first quarter. However, Miles missed his final five shots from the field. Waiters finished with 20 points, 14 in the second quarter, and three assists. He's not thrilled with coming off the bench. "I'll do whatever they need me to do," Waiters said. "Coach made the change. I can't say anything about it. It was not my decision who starts or who comes off the bench." Scott said it's a role Waiters was used to at Syracuse. "That was Syracuse," Waiters said. Scott said the lineup change went well. "The third quarter didn't go as well as I wanted it to," he said. "C.J. struggled a little bit in the second half, but all-in-all, I thought it was OK. I think it's one of those situations where we have to see how it does in the next week or so." Gee ended with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Cavs. Smart was happy with his team's performance. "We played a good game considering we were coming off a back-to-back and had to try to get ourselves going," he said. "We had to make a ton of plays to close this basketball game." NOTES: Kings guard Tyreke Evans, who has missed the last eight games with a sore left knee, was cleared to play after getting a doctor's second opinion. "Everything checked out," Smart said. "He'll meet us in Toronto. He'll get prepared to start playing again." ... Both the Cavs and Kings were missing two key performers. Cavs center Anderson Varejao (bruised right knee) and guard Daniel Gibson (concussion) are sidelined. Varejao has missed the last seven games. Besides Evans, Kings guard Marcus Thornton (sprained left ankle) also missed Wednesday's game. ... Scott said Gibson has been upgraded in the NBA protocol process. "He can get on the floor and get some shots up," he said. "I don't know if he'll be upgraded to go five-on-five in practice (on Thursday)." ... Scott said him and his wife spent New Year's Eve watching several episodes of "The Walking Dead." He's now a big fan of zombies.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Brad Marchand believes NHL players would accept gay teammate

Report: Falcons coaches told Shanahan is 49ers' new coach

Report: Members of Knicks want to part ways with Anthony

Bryce Harper prods Nationals over offseason activity

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Blake Griffin to produce ‘White Man Can’t Jump’ remake

Report: Hawks and Pelicans talked Dwight Howard trade

Joel Embiid’s minute limit will be enforced for rest of season

Man U to bring on full-time counter-terrorism officer

Durant: Harden could have thrived as Thunder's sixth man

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey in tax evasion case

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Box Score 1/18: Trying to stay Melo in New York

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Was Jack Capuano the right person to blame for Isles' woes?

Box Score 1/17: LeBron goes boom

Ten NBA players who need a change of scenery

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

The week in NFL news as explained by Heart

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

QUIZ: Name every NCAA men's and women's basketball team with perfect regular seasons

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

QUIZ: Name the quarterbacks drafted in the 2003 NFL draft ahead of Tony Romo

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

The week in NFL news as explained by Heart

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker