The Sacramento Kings ended a five game losing streak tonight with a very impressive win against the Brooklyn Nets. Energy and effort were far from being a problem tonight as the entire team stepped up.
Marcus Thornton, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Ben McLemore, had his best game of the season by far with 24 points in 34 minutes. Sacramento's other veteran guards had big games as well. Greivis Vasquez was a maestro with his passing, notching 12 assists to go with 17 points and 4 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 19 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench.
DeMarcus Cousins struggled with both fouls and his shot (5-14) but still finished with a near double-double with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 22 minutes.
The two new additions to the starting lineup, Jason Thompson and Ben McLemore, didn't exactly have phenomenal games but they brought a lot of energy to start. Ben McLemore played like a rookie tonight, rushing his shots and taking bad ones to boot. He was just 1-8 from the field. Jason Thompson was not much better shooting wise at just 4-12, but his 11 rebounds were a big help. Patrick Patterson also stepped up on the glass with 10 off the bench. He still couldn't find his three point stroke (0-3) but he had some spectacular pick and rolls with Vasquez in the second half to finish with 8 points.
Sacramento was in control throughout the game, even when shots weren't falling. Brooklyn looked exceedingly lethargic. Four of the five starters finished in double digits, but only Brook Lopez shot 50%. The Nets as a whole shot just 37.8% from the field, a number buoyed by a late surge from Shaun Livingston (13 points on 5-6 shooting). This was in part renewed defensive effort from Sacramento and shots not falling for the Nets. Brooklyn also had more turnovers (15) than assists (14). Sacramento on the other hand did a wonderful job distributing and taking care of the ball with a season-high 26 assists to just 6 turnovers.
This was a phenomenal win for Sacramento because they took care of business handily while not playing a perfect game. If they play with this type of energy every night and can see some more consistency from players like Thompson, Cousins and McLemore, this team can compete every night.
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