Short-handed Kings fall to the Nets 116-97

Photo credit: nba.com/nets

By Jessica Kwong

BROOKLYN — The Sacramento Kings had a “tough night” and beginning to their four-game road trip on Friday night as they played short-handed and lost 116-97 to the Brooklyn Nets.

Both teams struggled with offense to start at Barclays Center, but Garrett Temple hit a triple to give the Nets a lead—that lasted the entire game except for one tie with a few minutes remaining in the first quarter. Brooklyn lead by as many as 22 points. Sacramento was only 4-26 from the three-point line.

“Tough night for us,” Kings head coach Luke Walton said. “If you’re a 3-point shooting team and you shoot 15 percent, you’re not going to win a lot of games. Where we have to be better at are things that we can control.” The Kings could not control the number of injuries that have plagued the team. They played without Bogdan Bogdanovic due to left hamstring tightness, in addition to Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox who have been out with injuries.

Buddy Hield, who tried to step up in his teammates’ absence, had similar words to Walton about their performance: “It was a tough night.”

“When we have extra guys that can make shots it’s a little easier, but missing Bogie didn’t help us for sure,” Hield said. “It’s always ‘next man up’ mentality and we had to come out here and play. They did a good job. they made some shots and made some good plays.” The Kings trailed 26-23 after the first quarter and stayed in the game in the second, trailing 56-49 at the half. Rookie Justin James scored 4 points in 13 minutes played in the first half.

“I felt good out there—I was playing my game. I had a lot of mishaps defensively that I’m not too happy about but coach called on my number and I was ready to play,” James said. “Bogie was down tonight so I tried to come up and play the best that I can.” The game ran away from them in the Kings in third. The Nets began 4-4 and a 10-2 run led Walton to call a timeout. The Kings finished the quarter down 86-70. Sacramento’s bench players came out in the fourth quarter and the Kings fell to a 6-8 record.

The Nets won on rebounds 48-33, while the Kings beat them on assists 26-22 and had 16 turnovers, two fewer than the Nets. The Nets dominated on three’s, scoring 12.

“Brooklyn executed it well tonight and for whatever reason we didn’t do a good enough job of creating looks,” Walton said. “When we did get good looks, we just didn’t knock them down.” Brooklyn was without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

The Kings continue their east coast road trip on Sunday facing the Washington Wizards. Tipoff is at 3 p.m.

Kings falter in second half, lose to Nets 123-94

Photo credit: @SacramentoKings

By Jessica Kwong

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Sacramento Kings were in rhythm in the first half to beat the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and win their third straight game, but fell apart in the second half to lose 123-94. 

“It was a tough game for us,” Kings head coach Dave Joerger said postgame. “I thought we had a nice rhythm in the first half. We made a lot of mistakes in the first half but we were making some shots.”

Buddy Hield scored a triple for the Kings to start but the team played poor defense, allowing the Nets to get off with a 14-7 lead with 12 of those points coming in the paint. Brooklyn’s young star D’Angelo Russell made a triple to put the Nets up 26-20 with a minute to go. Bogdan Bogdanovic made a driving shot but Russell hit another three-pointer to put the Nets up 29-23 to end the quarter. 

Sacramento had a solid second quarter offensively, scoring 37 points. 

Russell hit another three-point jump shot, but Justin Jackson answered with a triple of his own and Bogdanovic made a pulp shot to tie the game at 32 a few minutes into the quarter. Then Yogi Ferrell made a triple to give the Kings a 35-32 lead. 

Brooklyn took a one-point lead halfway through the quarter when Alan Williams made a slam dunk. Bogdanovic followed up with a jump shot and the teams went back and forth with the lead until the final minutes. Buddy Hield made a triple to give the Kings a 60-55 lead to end the half. 

“The last three, four minutes of the second quarter we were much better defensively and we just didn’t come out with that same intensity in the second half,” Joerger said.

He said the game started to get away from the Kings “about three minutes into the third quarter.”

Russell, who was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week, made a pullup shot, then stole the ball, missed and running layup but rebounded and made a triple to put the Nets up 66-64. Sacramento called a timeout with just over 9 minutes left in the quarter.

It didn’t help much. At the halfway mark, the Nets were up 77-70 and seemed to have more hustle. By the two-minute mark, Brooklyn extended their lead to 88-78. Harry Giles III made a cutting layup but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made a cutting dunk to give the Nets a 93-85 lead at the end of the third. 

Sacramento failed to regroup in the fourth. A minute in, DeMarre Carroll made three-point jump shot to boost the Nets to 98-85, a 13-point and biggest lead of the game. The Kings took a timeout. Spencer Dinwiddie made a running layup, putting Brooklyn up 100-87 with 10 minutes left to play.

The Kings were unable to cut the deficit to single digits for the remainder of the game, instead trailing up to 29 points when the game ended.   

“It was a blow-by, a backdoor, a couple turnovers and Brooklyn’s in a really nice rhythm right now,” Joerger said. “They’ve got guys making shots, but they put it on the deck and they get to the rim. They’re playing really well and they’re difficult to defend, so hats off to them.”

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said he was most proud of his team’s “excellent” defense in the second half.

“I thought TG’s (Treveon Graham) job on Buddy Hield was fantastic,” Atkinson said. “I don’t think he scored in the second half. He was a real concern for us but great job on him and great defensive performance.”

Bogdanovic scored a team-leading 22 points, Justin Jackson had 14 points, Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points and Hield had 11 points. Jackson said he appreciated time to play with the starters. 

“For him to feel confident enough to put me out there on the floor, for one, helps a lot,” Jackson said of Joerger. “For him to put me in different types of situations is definitely big because then I know I can just go out there and play because then I know he has the confidence in me.”

Sacramento is now 24-23 and 10th in the Western Conference. They continue their road trip on Tuesday and face the Toronto Raptors (35-13). Tipoff is at 4 p.m. PST.

Warriors hold off late rally to beat the Nets 120-114

Photo credit: @warriors

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Warriors were able to hold off a late rally by the Brooklyn Nets in the fourth quarter to win 120-114 and improve to 6-1 Sunday evening at Barclays Center. As with previous games, the Warriors owed their win to the talents and high-scoring of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Golden State led by as many as 19 points in the second quarter and third quarter, but allowed Brooklyn to come within two points with 1:55 remaining in the game when D’Angelo Russell made a driving layup. But the defending champions stepped it up too Stephen Curry, who scored a team-leading 35 points along with seven rebounds and three assists, said the Warriors played well overall.

“We knew we had to come out and get to a great start. The way that they shoot three’s and try to space the floor and play fast, you can’t give them confidence early,” Curry said in postgame interviews. “We knew it was going to be a full 48-minute game.” The Warriors lacked rhythm at the start of the game but gained it faster than they did in their Friday night victory against the New York Knicks. Kerr called a timeout after Caris LeVert made a triple that put the Nets up 14-0. Then Curry and Kevin Durant were fouled at the three-point line and went 3-of-3 and 2-of-3 respectively, to tie the Nets at 26.

Durant said the Warriors had some good spurts.

“Obviously we wanted to play a great game, but we know that we are still learning and getting better,” Durant told reporters.

Golden State had a 63-49 lead at the half and a 93-77 lead at the end of the third. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said his team made it a point to fight harder after falling behind in the first half.

“I thought that the guys really made a second push,” Atkinson said. “I thought it was a good effort in the second half.”

Curry hit a new NBA record in the first half—at least five triples for the seventh straight game. He broke George McCloud’s record of at least five three-pointers in six consecutive games from the 1995-96 season, according to Warriors PR.

Russell said players can’t guard Curry by the rules.

“Whatever the game plan is or whatever you’re deciding to do at the point of a screen or anything, all bets are off,” Russell said. “He’s one of those players in the league that is unguardable at times.”

Durant had 34 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, Klay Thompson had 18 points, and Warrior reserve Alfonzo McKinnie had 9 points. The Warriors face the Chicago Bulls (2-4) at 5 p.m. Monday to end their three-game road trip.

Michigan holds off late Cardinal surge

 

By Daniel Dullum

Thanks to some clutch free throw shooting by Nik Stauskas, Michigan held off Stanford 68-65 Saturday in a non-conference men’s basketball contest at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Cardinal (8-3) had won seven of their last eight games going in, including a notable road win over No. 10 Connecticut on Wednesday. But they came up short in their bid for back-to-back road victories on the East Coast.

Stauskas, who led the Wolverines with 19 points, sank two crucial free throws with nine seconds remaining in the second half. Glenn Robinson III added 17 points for Michigan (7-4), which turned the ball over only eight times. Wolverines reserve Zak Irvin added 12 points.

Stefan Nastic equaled his season-high of 14 points for the Cardinal, but he fouled out with 5:24 to play. Chasson Randle, meanwhile, led Stanford with 18 points.

Stanford pulled to within one point in the second half, but could never get ahead of the Wolverines, who surged ahead at the 14:42 mark of the first half and never trailed for the remainder of the game.

Michigan’s Caris LeVert missed a pair of foul shots with 45 seconds remaining in the second half, which left the door open for a Cardinal comeback. After Grant Verhoeven made 1 of 2 free throws for Stanford with :44 showing, the Cardinal chose not to foul and Robinson’s layup put Michigan up 66-62 with 14 seconds left.

Chasson Randle’s 3-pointer cut the Cardinal deficit to 66-65 before Stauskas hit his two foul shots that gave Michigan some breathing room. Randle’s last-second 3-point attempt was short as time expired.

It was Michigan’s first game since dropping a 72-70 home decision to No. 1-Arizona on Dec. 14.

After a holiday break, the Cardinal return home on Sunday, Dec. 29, for a non-conference game against Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.