On Sunday night, the Nets defeated the Sacramento Kings by a final score of 99-90.
The Skinny: The Kings began the game by flooding the paint for points, with a few acrobatic shots from point guard Aaron Brooks. Sacramento went on a 10-0 run to take an early lead. Brook Lopez scored six of the Nets’ first eight points, but it took him seven shots to get there. Brooklyn only managed eight points in the game’s first eight minutes but gained a one-point lead on a 13-4 run to close out the quarter, as Deron Williams consistently found Andray Blatche in the paint. Williams had six assists in the first but hurt his elbow after hitting the deck on a pass under the basket.
Blatche scored 12 straight Nets’ points spanning the first two quarters. Both teams picked up the offensive pace in the second quarter and began trading buckets. C.J. Watson hit three three-pointers in the first half, and Blatche hit his first nine shots from the field, which helped the Nets establish a 12-point lead at the break. Williams returned late in the second quarter and appeared fine after icing the elbow. The Nets’ starters completely took over the game as the first half concluded.
Sacramento came out with great energy to start the third quarter, with Tyreke Evans heating up from the outside. Avery Johnson used a timeout and the Nets responded for a few minutes, but the Kings followed with an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to two late in the third quarter. But the Nets got back on track to preserve a nine-point lead after three.
The Kings again came out to start the fourth quarter with a flurry, closing the Nets lead to two with nine minutes to play. But yet again, the Nets mustered the late energy to control the game at both ends. MarShon Brooks gave Brooklyn great minutes down the stretch, helping the Nets get the win.
High Scorers: DeMarcus Cousins led all scorers with 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting. Blatche led the Nets with 22 points off the bench and was unconscious from the field, shooting 11-of-12 in just 19:28.
Key Stats: Thanks in part to Blatche, the Nets’ bench outscored the Kings’ bench, 52-26. Also thanks to Blatche and Lopez, Nets’ centers combined for 35 points.
Who Was Hot: Watson poured in 13 points off the bench on 4-of-7 shooting and 3-of-4 from downtown. When called upon, Brooks came through, scoring a season-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Williams added a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, while Kris Humphries pulled down 10 rebounds. Sacramento’s Evans scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Who Was Not: Joe Johnson once again struggled from the field, going scoreless in the first half and finishing with 10 points on 1-of-10 shooting. John Salmons, normally a strong outside shooter, was a non-factor, hitting on just 1-of-3 shots for two points in 27:45.
Fun Fact: Brooklyn has now won five games in a row, which is the team’s longest such streak since March 4-14, 2011. This marks the last time since April, 2006 that the Nets were four games over the .500 mark.
Jim MancariThis team is starting to play like a broken record. They get out to double-digit leads in the first half only to see it slip away in the third quarter and then have to fight to the finish.
Gerald Wallace returned to action in this one after missing six games with a sprained left ankle. He scored four points and played good defense, but he showed his rust by turning the ball over four times. This was only the second game that Wallace, D-Will and Lopez have played together, so hopefully the chemistry develops there.
Still, five straight wins for the Nets is a good accomplishment. The huge 33-point second quarter propelled the team to victory. The Nets shot 13-of-19 (68 percent) in the quarter after scoring just 21 points in the first.
Blatche was off the hook tonight. He looks like a completely different player than he was with the Wizards. He’s in shape and seems committed to winning. What a great find for Billie King!
Playing three games in four nights, Brooklyn (6-2) will continue its road stand Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Mike D’Antoni-led Lakers. Steve Nash will miss the game for Los Angeles. The 10:30 p.m. EST game will be televised on both NBA TV and the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.