No defense equals no win for Sacramento; Kings lose to Nets 128-119

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets
Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Opposing teams have figured out how to defeat the Sacramento Kings. First, you have to start fast because the Kings are slow to start playing defense. Second, shoot the 3-ball because the Sacramento perimeter defense is non-existent.

The Brooklyn Nets came out fast in the first quarter on Friday night against the Kings. The Nets put up 33 points in the first period. In fact, the Nets scored at least 30 points in three of the four quarters in the game. This scoring barrage was from a team that averages just 95 points per game.

The Nets also came prepared to shoot from long distance. Brooklyn connected on 18 of 28 (64.3-percent) 3-point attempts versus the Kings. Bojan Bogdanovic hit on 7-0f-9 3-point shots while Joe Johnson went 5-for-7 from downtown. Donald Sloan shot 4-for-5 from long range.

Brooklyn (13-38) – who had lost five consecutive games – shot 55.8-percent (48-for-86) from the field. Sacramento (21-29) never found its defensive footing in the contest.

George Karl described his team as having a “shootout mentality” rather than a defensive mentality. Karl went on to add that things felt “very empty” after the game.

The fact is the Kings can score enough points to win but they cannot stop enough points to keep from losing.

Sacramento has now lost six of their last seven games. This game versus the Nets was supposed to be one of the most winnable contests on this four game road trip that includes games in Boston and Cleveland before the All-Star break.

It is very apparent that something has to change for the Kings and it has to happen quickly.

DeMarcus Cousins was very cryptic after the game saying his team has a “big issue” to deal with internally. He was clear that the issue went beyond energy and effort.

Even with the loss, the Kings are just three games out of the number eight spot in the Western Conference playoff race. The potential of the playoffs may just be an afterthought if the Kings cannot find solutions to whatever is ailing them in the locker room and on the court.

Kings

Darren Collison led the Kings in scoring by putting up 25 points in 25 minutes of playing time off the bench. Collison went 7-for-9 from the floor including two 3-point baskets. He was also an impressive 9-for-9 from the free throw line.

DeMarcus Cousins posted a triple-double against the Nets. Cousins scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in the game. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Rajon Rondo had a double-double game as he scored 15 points and distributed 15 assists. Rondo had three steals and turned the ball over just two times.

Willie Cauley-Stein added 16 points, Marco Belinelli 13, Caron Butler 8 and Omri Casspi 7.

Rudy Gay scored just two points in the game. Gay went down early in first quarter with a twisted ankle. Karl had no update on Gay’s condition after the game.

Sacramento shot 50.6-percent (45-for-89) from the floor hitting on 8 of 26 3-point shots. The Kings shot 21-for-22 from the foul line. They had 30 assists and just 11 turnovers.

All of these numbers support the premise that the Kings score enough to win. They just cannot keep the other team from scoring more.

Nets

Joe Johnson scored a season-high 27 points to lead the Nets scoring attack. Johnson shot 11-for-16 from the floor including 5-for-7 from downtown. Johnson did not make one trip to the free throw line in the game.

Center Brook Lopez posted 26 points in the game. Lopez made it a double-double game by hauling in 12 rebounds.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 23 points against the Kings. He shot 8-for-10 from the field and 7-for-9 from long range. Bogdanovic also did not make a trip to the charity stripe in the contest.

Donald Sloan had a season-high 17 points versus the Kings. A team cannot allow that many season high scoring performances from the opposition and expect to win.

Up next

The Kings will return to action on Sunday with an early game in Boston. The Celtics (30-22) beat the Cavs 104-103 in Cleveland on Friday evening. The Kings – Celtics game will tip-off at 10:00 AM Pacific Time.

The Nets play the second game of a back-to-back against the Sixers in Philadelphia on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

Warriors hold court, drop Nets

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — All five starters scored in double figures, led by Klay Thompson’s 25 points as the Golden State Warriors snapped a two-game losing skid with a 107-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

Draymond Green and Stephen Curry scored 17 points apiece. Green added seven rebounds and tied a career-high with seven rebounds.

“Everyone on our team contributed tonight,” said center Andrew Bogut. “Coach [Steve Kerr] told us he wanted us to be aggressive tonight and we were.”

Bogut scored 11 points and grabbed 14 of the Warriors 45 rebounds. Harrison Barnes finished with 12 points, but the story of the game was how controlled Golden State ball, committing just 11 turnovers tonight.

“Happy to get back into the win column,” said Curry. “We got a deep team and everyone is capable of having a big night. ”

For a team that is leading the league with 21 turnovers per game, it was definitely refreshing to see the Warriors to limiting the turnovers.

“That was great,” said the Warriors head coach. “Just three turnovers in the first half and 18 assists, that was huge…we’re just scratching the surface.”

Golden State shot a blistering 51 percent from the floor (25-of-49) in the first half, but cooled off a bit to finish the game shooting 46 percent (41-of-90). The 3-point line was kind for the Dubs, who connected on 11-of-34 shots (32 percent).

Former Warriors backup point guard Jarrett Jack scored 23 points on 10-of-10 shooting off the bench for Brooklyn.

Brook Lopez and Deron Williams each finished with 18 points for the Nets, who shot a putrid 39-of-88 (45 percent) from the floor and a nightmarish 3-of-16 from behind the 3-point arc.

Joe Johnson finished with 12 points for Brooklyn, who fall to 4-4 on the season.

At 6-2, the Golden State Warriors will look to finish up their three-game homestand Saturday night when the Charlotte Hornets  (that’s right, the Charlotte Hornets) come into Oracle Arena.

 

O’Neal, Green provide huge lift for Warriors win over Nets

By Joe Hawkes

OAKLAND — With a six game road trip set to begin Monday in Detroit, the Warriors appear to be hitting their stride at the right time.

Playing without power forward David Lee (stomach flu) and center Andrew Bogut (shoulder inflammation), Jermaine O’Neal and Draymond Green filled in nicely, helping the Golden State Warriors  pick up their third straight victory after the All-Star break with a 93-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596 at Oracle Arena Saturday night.

“That’s what this game was all about, guys stepping up,” said Warriors head coach Mark Jackson after the game. “We needed that. Guys stepping up when needed and those guys stepped up tonight.”

O’Neal, who was caught in traffic due to the Monster Truck rally next door at O.co Coliseum, had a season-high 23 points and 13 rebounds while starting in place for Bogut, who missed his seventh straight game. O’Neal’s performance was vintage O’Neal. The kind of performance that made him a six-time All-Star in eight seasons with the Indiana Pacers.

“At this point of the year, you got to play hard and make every possession counts,” said the 18-year veteran O’Neal. “I don’t know what next year holds for me, but I know that my team will play hard each night. ”

Green poured in 18 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes of action tonight while starting for Lee. Green was all over the court and brought huge energy to the starting lineup seeing 38 minutes of action.

Stephen Curry scored 17 points with eight assists, and Andre Iguodala scored six points to go along with 11 rebounds logging a game-high 44 minutes.

Curry shot 7-for-13 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3. With the Warriors clinging to a 88-86 lead with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter, Curry hit a 3-pointer off the glass giving Golden State a 91-86 lead with under a minute left in the game.

Golden State (34-22) dominated in many facets of the game including points in the paint (52-38), rebounds (50-39), assists (26-11), and steals (12-5), while holding Brooklyn to shooting 32-for-78 (41.0%) and 2-for-21 from 3 (9.5%).

Deron Williams led Brooklyn (25-28) with 20 points and dished out six assists.

Joe Johnson had 15 points, Andray Blatche had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Paul Pierce chipped in 11 points for Brooklyn, who have dropped eight of their last nine in Oakland.

Golden State improves to 18-10 at home this season, and were able to payback Brooklyn for snapping the Warriors’ 10-game winning streak with a 102-98 win in Brooklyn in January.

 

 

Warriors 10-game winning streak snapped in Brooklyn

by Joe Hawkes-Beamon

BROOKLYN — Stephen Curry led all scorers with 34 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Golden State Warriors (24-14) saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end in Brooklyn, 102-98 Wednesday night. The Warriors finished tied for an NBA-record 6-1 on their season-long seven-game road trip.

David Lee finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 14 points, and Andre Iguodala added 10 for Golden State, who committed 18 turnovers in the game. Curry was responsible for seven turnovers, but did have seven assists while playing a game-high 45 minutes.

Andrew Bogut finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Brooklyn (14-21), playing without start point guard Deron Williams, got a huge boost from Joe Johnson, and Kevin Garnett.

Johnson led Brooklyn with 27 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field, including 9-for-11 from the free throw line.

Garnett scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, and stole Curry’s pass with the Warriors trailing by three with 30 seconds left to play.

Brooklyn added a pair of free throws while Thompson’s desperation three-pointer as time expired fell short, helped the Nets pick up their season-high fourth straight victory.

Golden State returns home to Oracle Arena Friday when they host the Boston Celtics.