By Charlie O. Mallonee
The road is a harsh place in the NBA
The chances of a road team winning a game in the NBA stand at approximately 40-percent. That means the odds are against you before you ever start the game.
The Sacramento Kings kicked off a six-game road trip in Brooklyn on Sunday night against the Nets. The Nets came into the game having lost six consecutive games and were desperate for a win. Sacramento knew this was a team they could beat and needed to defeat to make it a successful start to the road trip.
The Kings (7-10) met their goal by soundly defeating the Nets 122-105 to start the long road trip on a positive note.
The Nets opened the game with fast and furious play
Brooklyn plays fast as team normally, but they opened this game with a sense of urgency wanting to end their losing streak and feeling like the Kings were a team they could beat on their home court.
The Nets decided to use the Rockets philosophy and started shooting as many 3-pointers as possible against the Kings. The concept worked momentarily as Brooklyn opened up a nine point lead shooting 5-for-10 from long range, but the Kings got organized on offense scoring with high percentage shots in the paint. At the end of the first quarter, the Kings had cut the Nets lead to four points – 35 to 31.
The Sacramento second unit slowed the Nets down in the second quarter
The Kings second unit led by Matt Barnes and Garrett Temple slowed the Nets down by increasing the defensive pressure and continued to cut into the Brooklyn lead using high percentage shots in the paint. Sacramento tied the game up with 8:52 to in the first half, and then they took the lead.
The Nets took the lead back before the end of the half, but they were not able to reestablish the fiery pace of the first quarter. Also, the Kings continued to score. DeMarcus Cousins hit a 25-foot bank shot for 3-points near the end of period. At the end of the 12-minutes, Sacramento had won the quarter 27-24. Brooklyn went to halftime with a 59-58 lead over the Kings.
In the third quarter the Sacramento Express rolled into Brooklyn
The Kings have been a strong second-half team in general this season. On Sunday night in Brooklyn, they found a whole new running gear thanks to their star center. Cousins took charge of the game scoring 18 points in the quarter, shooting 6-for-9 from the floor including hitting 2-of-2 from 3-point range. He went 4-for-4 from the free throw line, grabbed five rebounds and had three steals in the period. Cousins did in 12-minutes what a majority of players would love to do in an entire game.
Rudy Gay added five points and two assists. Darren Collison scored five points and had one assist. Matt Barnes put up three points and dished out three assists in just 5:30 on the floor.
By the end of the quarter, the Kings had outscored the Nets 34-18 in the period and had a 92-77 lead in the game.
The one negative of the quarter was that DeMarcus Cousins picked up a technical foul for hitting Luis Scola in the face under basket while trying to make a layup. Cousins then went to the line to shoot two free throws because Scola fouled him in the act of shooting. It is Cousins fourth technical of the season.
The fourth quarter should have been an easy one for Sacramento but is wasn’t
Everything started off the Kings in fourth quarter just the way they wanted things to go. It looked like it would be a forgettable 12-minutes and Sacramento could move on to Washington, D.C. for the game on Monday night.
Then at the 9:35 mark of the fourth quarter, Sean Kilpatrick of the Nets drove to the basket for a layup. Matt Barnes of the Kings ran in from the angle to cut him off and there was heavy contact. Replay revealed that Barnes’ left arm made contact with Kilpatrick’s face. The officials went to review the video and everyone knew Barnes was going to be issued a flagrant one foul. Instead, the referees called it a flagrant two foul and Barnes was ejected from the game. (Let me just say that Barnes previous reputation as a tough guy may have come into play in the call – imho).
The ejection changed the momentum of the game and the Nets promptly went on a 16-2 run and cut the Kings lead down to 99-93.
Rudy Gay hit a 19-foot jumper with 6:29 to go in the game which kicked off a 14-0 run by the Kings. That run killed any hope the Nets had of coming back in the game.
Sacramento won the game by the final score of 122-105.
- DeMarcus Cousins was the leading scorer in the game with 37 points and made it a double-double with 11 rebounds
- Rudy Gay had a big game with 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds
- Darren Collison scored 18 points
- Ty Lawson scored 13 points coming off the bench for the Kings
- Omri Casspi played again for the Kings putting up eight point and grabbing five rebounds. He was 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
- Everyone on the Sacramento bench except Anthony Tolliver – that includes Ben McLemore and Willie Cauley-Stein- played in the game
Brooklyn’s top producers
- Guard Sean Kilpatrick was the Nets leading scorer with 22 points. He went 8-for-13 shooting including three 3-point baskets
- Brook Lopez put up 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds while battling with DeMarcus Cousins all night
- Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 points for Brooklyn
- Justin Hamilton was the Nets rebounding leader with 10
Key stat of the game
Points in the paint: Kings 50 Nets 36 – this is where the game was won
Up next on the schedule
The Nets game was the first game of a back-to-back set on the road for the Kings. Sacramento will play on Monday night in Washington, D.C. The Wizards are 5-10 on the season and are coming off a loss to San Antonio. The Kings did play the Wizards in the preseason at Rupp Arena on the campus of the University of Kentucky.
The Nets will try to end their seven-game losing streak on Tuesday night when they host the 14-4 Los Angeles Clippers.