Kings point guard Frank Mason III, center, drives between Cleveland Cavaliers' Cedi Osman, left, and Kyle Korver on Wednesday. Tony Dejak AP
Kings point guard Frank Mason III, center, drives between Cleveland Cavaliers' Cedi Osman, left, and Kyle Korver on Wednesday. Tony Dejak AP

Kings Blog

Jason Jones, Sacramento Kings beat writer

Kings Blog

Sampson seizes opportunity with career high, but Kings fall short in Cleveland

By Jason Jones

jejones@sacbee.com

December 06, 2017 06:46 PM

CLEVELAND

The Kings’ bid to stop the Cleveland Cavaliers from tying their franchise record for consecutive wins ended just short.

LeBron James had 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to lead Cleveland to a 101-95 victory Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena. James’ 3-pointer with 15.8 seconds left put the Cavs (18-7) up by five and helped secure their 13th win in a row to tie the franchise record.

Zach Randolph led the Kings (7-17) with 18 points. He also had 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists.

The Kings, who led by as many as 14 points, were held to 38 points in the second half.

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Here are three takeaways from the game:

JaKarr Sampson impact

JaKarr Sampson might not be part of the long-term plans for the Kings, but they need players who possess his brand of hustle and energy. Sampson started Wednesday and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, the most by a King this season.

Because he’s a two-way player, Sampson will spend most of the season with the Reno Bighorns in the G League. But he maximized his team-high 33 minutes and made a case that he should be around more.

Not only did he crash the glass, he also started the game guarding James, even though he was listed as the starting center.

The Kings don’t have a lot of size on the wing, and Sampson (6-foot-9, 207 pounds) can guard some of the bigger forwards like James.

The Kings can run

Sacramento had 18 fast-break points Wednesday. That’s one short of the season high.

The Kings struggle to score most nights, so the more they capitalize on fast breaks – and avoid having to rely on half-court offense or getting to the free-throw line – the more likely they are to stay in a game.

When the Cavs took over in the fourth, the Kings scored only 17 points, three on fast break.

Kings need more Frank Mason

Frank Mason III continues to show the moment is not too big for him and earns playing time in the fourth quarter of close games.

De’Aaron Fox was drafted to be the face of the franchise, but Mason could prove to be a needed piece in this rebuilding project. His production and intangibles should not be underrated.

Mason had 15 points, two rebounds and two assists Wednesday.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.