CLEVELAND — Arron Afflalo made a 3-pointer with 17.3 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Sacramento Kings to a 116-112 win Wednesday night over the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost for the sixth time in eight games amid criticism by their star, LeBron James.
DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who trailed by 5 in overtime before battling back. Darren Collison added 23 points for Sacramento.
After Afflalo’s 3, James missed a deep 3-point attempt for the Cavaliers, who were then forced to foul Cousins. He dropped one of two free throws to put away the reeling N.B.A. champions.
James finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, and Kevin Love had 21 points and 16 rebounds.
It was Cleveland’s first game since James called the team’s roster “top-heavy” on Monday and questioned whether the organization was fully committed to winning a second title.
Those comments led to a meeting between James and General Manager David Griffin, who was not pleased that James had gone public with his feelings.
“I think we both needed it,” Griffin said before the game on Wednesday. “I’m happy it happened.”
Following the latest troubling loss, James quickly dressed and answered a handful of questions before heading home.
“We’ve got to get better,” he said. “That’s all. We had our opportunities. It don’t matter who we go against, if they’re sub-.500 or plus-.500 — we know we’re going to get everybody’s best, so we’ve just got tobe better.”
Griffin said he was most bothered by James’ claim that the Cavaliers seemed to be satisfied with last season’s title and were not doing all they could to repeat as champions.
“The comment about the organization being complacent I think is really misguided,” Griffin said. “Organizationally there is absolutely no lack of clarity on what our set goal is. We are here to win championships and there is no other solution, there is no other outcome that is acceptable and there never has been.”
Griffin said he’s continuing to try and improve Cleveland’s roster, adding that James’ issues will not speed up any timeline. Griffin would not say if James showed remorse for his rant.