The Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ loss to Sacramento

The Cleveland Cavaliers(8-3) continued their five-game road trip in Sacramento(4-6) against the Kings. The Cavs’ eight-game winning streak was snapped against the Clippers on Monday night, and they hoped to return to their winning ways. 

However, that wasn’t the case Wednesday night. Sacramento led by as many as 15 points and led for most of the game, but Cleveland would take their largest lead of six with just over eight minutes to go in the fourth. The game with knotted at 117 after two Jarrett Allen free throws with just under three minutes to go, but Kevin Huerter scored five of Sacramento’s next seven points, including a dagger three late, that put the Kings up 124-118, and they would go on to defeat the Cavs 127-120 at Golden 1 Center.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Kings.

Great:

Donovan Mitchell had a game-high 38 points(16/28 FG, 6/14 3-PT FG). He went berserk in the third quarter as he was 7/7 from the field, including 3/3 from deep, to score 17 points in the quarter. Mitchell’s great third quarter helped the Cavs trim the Kings’ 11-point halftime lead to four entering the fourth. Mitchell also added five rebounds and four assists.

Caris LeVert had his first double-double of the season with 21 points, a season-high 10 rebounds, and six assists. He was aggressive throughout the game on Wednesday night.

Jarrett Allen had 20 points, seven rebounds, and a block. Allen has been in double figures in points in five straight games and nine out of the first 11 games of the season.

Points in the Paint: The Cavs had 64 points in the paint against Sacramento. Cleveland finished the night shooting 53% from the floor.

Not So Great:

Defense: The Cavs did not bring it on the defensive end for the second straight game. Sacramento got way too many open looks. As they did in their loss to the Clippers, they allowed the Kings to have three 30-plus point quarters. Sacramento ended the night shooting 53% from the floor. The 127 points are the most Cleveland has given up in a game this season.

Darius Garland was just off Wednesday night, and he scored only six points and shot 1/9 from the field in 34 minutes of action. Nights like this happen, and the All-Star didn’t have it against the Kings; Garland did finish with eight assists.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 18 turnovers, which led to 18 points for Sacramento. LeVert led the way with five, and Garland had four.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland has to be better on the defensive end, which wasn’t much of a problem until the last two games. It’s a long season, but the defense needs to improve. Statistically, the Cavs have been one of the better defensive teams in basketball, so maybe it’s an aberration, or perhaps it’s a start of an issue that a team with a small backcourt might have moving forward. Stay tuned.

What’s Next:

The Cavs conclude their five-game road trip in San Francisco against the world-champion Warriors on Friday night.

Best of the Rest:

The Kings had seven players in double figures. Domantas Sabonis led the way with 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists, and Harrison Barnes added 20 points and nine rebounds. 

Evan Mobley added 16 points and six rebounds for the Cavs.

On Wednesday, Mitchell(366 games) became the second-fastest player to reach 1,000 threes in the history of the NBA.

Official: Hawks trade Huerter to Kings for Holiday, Harkless, first-round pick

The Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Justin Holiday, forward Maurice Harkless, and a future first-round pick in exchange for guard Kevin Huerter, the team announced Wednesday.

Holiday, who Sacramento acquired on February 8 in a trade with the Indiana Pacers, appeared in 74 total games during the 2021-22 season (65 starts), averaging 10.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 27.8 minutes.

In nine NBA seasons, the 33-year-old Holiday has appeared in 576 games (285 starts), tallying 8.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 24.6 minutes.

Holiday’s younger brother, Aaron, was recently signed by the Atlanta Hawks, while his older brother, Jrue, is a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Harkless, 29, appeared in 47 games (24 starts) for the Kings during the 2021-22 season, notching 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 18.4 minutes.

The 10-year veteran has appeared in 621 games (372 starts), averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in 22.6 minutes

“In acquiring Justin and Moe, we add two defensive-minded, quality veterans who can help our team on the court and in the locker room,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk via a press release announcing the move. “We would like to thank Kevin for his contributions, both on and off the court. He grew as a player and person in his four seasons with us, and we wish him the best in Sacramento.”

Last season, Huerter averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per contest for Atlanta.

In four seasons in Atlanta, the 23-year-old Huerter appeared in 274 games (216 starts), averaging 11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 29.6 minutes.

Huerter’s biggest moment with the Hawks was in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Atlanta’s Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on June 20, 2021; he poured in 27 points on 10-18 shooting from the field, including a 2-4 clip from deep, in addition to seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 40 minutes of play.

Hawks add another Holiday

In another move, the Hawks signed guard Aaron Holiday.

According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.

Last season with the Suns, Holiday appeared in 22 games (one start), averaging 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 16.3 minutes 

Phoenix acquired the 25-year-old on February 10 in a trade with the Washington Wizards. In total, the 6-0 guard saw action in 63 games (15 starts) during the 2021-22 season, notching 6.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 16.2 minutes of play (.447 FG%, .379 3FG%, .868 FT%). His .447 field goal percentage marked a career-high clip from the floor.

Drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Holiday has appeared in 245 games (56 starts) over his four-year career, owning averages of 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 18.2 minutes.

Hawks deal Landale to Phoenix

Also, on Wednesday, the Hawks completed a trade with the Phoenix Suns. Atlanta received cash considerations in exchange for center Jock Landale. Landale was acquired on June 30 in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs that sent Dejounte Murray to Atlanta.

As a rookie, the 26-year-old played in 54 games with San Antonio in 2021-22, averaging 4.9 points on 49.5% from the field and 82.9% from the free throw line plus 2.6 rebounds in 10.9 minutes. The Australian native had 10 games scoring in double figures including a career-high 26 points, making 12-of-15 field goals, on March 12 vs. Indiana.

Hawks GM Schlenk on Huerter: ‘He’s developed into a versatile, two-way player’

The Atlanta Hawks have signed guard Kevin Huerter to a contract extension, which begins with the 2022-23 season, the team announced on Monday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a four-year rookie contract extension worth $65 million.

“It was important to our group to secure Kevin as a part of our team moving forward,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk in a press release to announce the deal. “He’s developed into a versatile, two-way player who can fit any lineup and can play minutes all over the perimeter. We are excited his future is in Atlanta.”

In 69 games (49 starts) last season, the 6’7 guard averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and a team-best 1.2 steals (tied for 31st in the NBA) in 30.8 minutes (.432 FG%, .363 3FG%, .781 FT%). 

In 18 playoff contests in 2021 (10 starts), he put in 11.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 31.0 minutes (.428 FG%, .347 3FG%, .706 FT%). In helping vault the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in Atlanta franchise history, Huerter finished with a career playoff-high 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal in 40 minutes (10-18 FGs, 2-4 3FGs and 5-7 FTs) in a 103-96 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Philadelphia.

Atlanta selected Huerter in the first round (19th overall) of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Hawks pick up contract options on Young, Huerter, Collins

The Atlanta Hawks have exercised the fourth-year (2020-21) option on the contract of John Collins, along with the third-year (2020-21) options on the contracts of Kevin Huerter and Trae Young, it was announced today.

Entering his third season in Atlanta, Collins averaged team-highs of 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds along with 2.0 assists in 30.0 minutes (.560 FG%, .348 3FG%, .763 FT%) in 61 games (59 starts) during the 2018-19 season. He ranked 15th in the NBA in rpg, 16th in FG% and 33rd in ppg. He was the first sophomore in NBA history to average at least 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in 30 minutes or fewer per game. During All-Star Weekend, he participated in the MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars and AT&T Slam Dunk. Collins was named NBA All-Rookie Second Team after the 2017-18 campaign.

Huerter was named NBA All-Rookie Second Team last season after averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 27.3 minutes (.419 FG%, .385 3FG%, .732 FT%) in 75 contests (59 starts). Among qualifying NBA rookies, he ranked third in 3FG% (36th in the NBA), sixth in apg, seventh in spg and mpg. His 136 three-pointers were the second-most in Hawks history and the sixth-most in NBA history by a rookie age 20 or younger.

Young was a unanimous NBA All-Rookie First Team selection last season as he averaged 19.1 points, 8.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 30.9 minutes (.418 FG%, .324 3FG%, .829 FT%) in 81 contests (all starts). Among qualifying NBA rookies, he was first in apg (fourth in the NBA), second in ppg (34th in the NBA) and FT%, third in mpg, sixth in spg and 10th in rpg. The four-time Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month was also NBA Eastern Conference NBA Player of the Week for March 18-24, the only rookie in either conference to win the award last season. Young also led the Eastern Conference in total assists (653, second in the NBA), becoming the first rookie to lead a conference in assists since 1995-96.