Kings 107, Cavaliers 104
This time, Tyreke Evans and the Sacramento Kings were on the positive end of an impressive rally.
Evans scored 21 points and the balanced Kings stormed back to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-104 on Saturday night.
Omri Casspi added 20 points for Sacramento, which trailed by 16 in the first half. Beno Udrih had 12 points and 11 assists, and rookie DeMarcus Cousins finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
''We got some great performances from really everybody who played,'' Kings coach Paul Westphal said.
Cleveland, which has lost two straight after beating Boston in the opener, was led by Ramon Sessions, who had 21 points. The Cavaliers have been outscored 88-54 in the third quarter this season, including a 31-15 margin against the Kings.
''The third quarter has been terrible for us,'' coach Byron Scott said. ''Having a 14-point lead, I thought we took a big exhale instead of coming out with the other attitude of going up by 20.''
The Kings went 2-1 on their season-opening road trip and host Toronto in their home opener on Monday. They had a chance at a perfect start but they blew an eight-point lead late in Friday night's game against New Jersey and lost 106-100.
''It was a good road trip for us,'' Westphal said. ''We can look back and say if we would have held that lead last night, we could have been 3-0, but on the other hand we were behind by double digits every game. To get two of those games I feel good about it.''
The Cavaliers, as expected, are searching for an identity in the post-LeBron James era.
''We have a lot to learn about ourselves as a basketball team,'' Scott said. ''It's going to take some time.''
''They're a very interesting team,'' Westphal said. ''There are probably more unknowns about the Cavs than any other team in the league right now.''
Casspi gave the Cavaliers an opening when he missed two free throws with 5.9 seconds left and the Kings leading, 106-103.
Cleveland called timeout and advanced the ball to midcourt. The Kings fouled Jawad Williams, who made the first free throw and missed the second intentionally. Cousins got the rebound and was fouled. He missed the first shot, but made the second.
Daniel Gibson, who had 20 points for Cleveland, tried a desperation heave from halfcourt, but the shot was short.
Evans was only 6-of-20 from the field, but came through when needed.
''I was missing layups, but he (Westphal) told me not worry about that,'' Evans said. ''They will fall sometime. In the second half, I was just trying to get in the paint and finish layups or penetrate and look for the open man.''
The Kings fell behind 60-44 in the second quarter and trailed 67-53 at halftime, but erased the deficit and then some in the third. Cousins' rebound basket tied it at 80 with 2:22 left. Darnell Jackson's two free throws against his former team gave the Kings their first lead since early in the second, and Jackson hit a jumper in the closing seconds of the quarter to make it 84-82 Sacramento.
Leading 94-93, the Kings scored nine consecutive points, forcing Scott to call timeout with 5:50 left. Carl Landry hit a jumper, Cousins made two free throws, Casspi made a 3-pointer and Evans converted a layup to send the Kings a 103-93 advantage.
Cleveland again played without starting point guard Mo Williams, who has a groin injury. He's expected to make his season debut Tuesday against Atlanta.
The teams were tied at 34 after one quarter, but the Cavaliers made 12 of 17 shots from the field in the second to open up the big lead.
NOTES: The win snapped an eight-game for the Kings against the Cavaliers. ... Sacramento was called for an 8-second violation in the third quarter. ... Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao started after missing Friday night's game in Toronto. Varejao's father had heart surgery in Cleveland on Friday.