Unfortunately, the Kings couldn’t end their solid road trip on a high note. Insanely hot shooting by the Nets — aided by lackluster Kings defense — was a problem for Sacramento from the start. The Kings simply couldn’t keep up, as outside of DeMarcus Cousins, the team struggled to find the bottom of the net. The final damage was a 113-93 score line in favor of the Nets, ending the Kings road trip at 2-2.
SHOOTING BY THE NUMBERS – Saturday’s game can be explained by simply looking at the shooting numbers. Brooklyn hovered over 70 percent for much of the first quarter, and finished the first half with a 68 percent mark from the floor. The Nets ended the night at 51.8 percent. Meanwhile, Sacramento, a night after shooting 52.6 percent in Toronto, couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. Francisco Garcia (21 MIN, 0 PTS, 0-4 FG, 2 AST, 1 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK) continued his slump, and John Salmons (33 MIN, 13 PTS, 5-13 FG, 2 AST, 2 REB) cooled considerably after a hot start. The 36-for-90 (40 percent) performance was clearly not good enough to win, especially against the scorching Nets.
THE NIGHT FOR COUSINS – It was another positive effort for DeMarcus Cousins (34 MIN, 28 PTS, 11-18 FG, 6-8 FT, 11 REB, 3 AST, 0 TO, 1 BLK), who showed no quit despite the ugly nature of this one. In the early going, Cousins had one interesting moment. Aaron Brooks led a three-on-one fastbreak and had his lay-up attempt blocked. After dunking in the rebound, Cousins yelled to Brooks, “Pass the f****** ball!” While the message was probably correct, there is probably a better way to handle that. Nonetheless, DMC was the only consistent player for the Kings, and he showed relentless effort in the second half. He finished extremely well at the rim and took care of the ball. He didn’t get much help, but that didn’t take away from Cousins’ stellar road trip.
POOR POINT PLAY – It’s hard to be that excited about the performance of either point guard. Neither Isaiah Thomas nor Aaron Brooks commanded the team — Thomas (22 MIN, 12 PTS, 3-5 FG, 2 AST, 2 TO) had trouble beating Deron Williams, while Brooks (26 MIN, 13 PTS, 4-7 FG, 5 REB, 4 AST, 2 TO, 2 STL) was hesitant to shoot and sloppy with the rock before padding his stats in garbage time. When the offense is completely disorganized, it’s on these guys to bring order. It will be interesting to see what happens in the backcourt on Monday with the expected return of Tyreke Evans. My preference would be to see Isaiah Thomas remain the starting point guard and orchestrator of offense, but I can’t say he’s exactly run away with the gig. Evans will undoubtedly initiate offense regardless of his position, and the Kings new emphasis on ball movement will be tested.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Travis Outlaw, Jimmer Fredette, Chuck Hayes and Tyler Honeycutt combined to shoot 0-for-15 in 41 minutes of action … Specifically, Fredette (12 MIN, 0 PTS, 0-4 FG, 1 TO) was non-existent. His confidence has wavered in the past few games, as he’s passing up open looks and dribbling into trouble … The Kings were outrebounded 51-41 … The Nets had six players score at least 14 points.