Everything clicked for the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Marcus Thornton hit shots (10-19 from the floor, 4-9 on threes). Jason Thompson (11 in 26 minutes) and Patrick Patterson (10 in 25) rebounded well, helping hold the Nets to grabbing just 21 percent of offensive rebound opportunities. Isaiah Thomas continued to thrive off of the bench, dropping 19 points on 5-11 shooting with six assists and six rebounds. Travis Outlaw did his thing. Chuck Hayes defended. Johnny Salmons even had a decent game.
But of all the things Sacramento did, Greivis Vasquez having a huge game might have been the most important.
The Kings beat the Brooklyn Nets 107-86, and Vasquez was the maestro that made the offense sing. He finished with 17 points on 7-13 shooting (2-6 threes), 12 assists and two turnovers. A low turnover rate has been the Kings' calling card this season on offense, which is a bit of surprise given Vasquez's history. But the trend continued with a remarkably low six turnovers in 96 possessions. The Nets had 15, a more normal number. That's nine shooting possessions lost for Brooklyn.
If Vasquez can consistently set up teammates for easy shots -- Thornton's spot-up threes, Patterson pick-and-roll finishes, Thompson 17-footers, Ben McLemore lob finishes in transition -- the Kings offense will be just fine. Thomas apparently isn't going anywhere: he seems bound and determined to be the leading bench scorer in the NBA. Fine by me, as he's shooting well despite the loosest shot selection of his young career. And while DeMarcus Cousins didn't have a huge game (15 points, nine rebounds in a foul-addled 22 minutes), he was pretty dominant in the first quarter, scoring 10 quick ones in the first nine minutes.
Isaiah and DeMarcus will score. If Vasquez can squeeze points out of Thornton, Patterson and Thompson while producing some scoring himself, the Kings offense is in good shape. That says nothing of the defense -- up to No. 27 from No. 30 thanks to the Nets' horrid shooting -- or of the development of McLemore. (I do imagine that Vasquez can help McLemore score easier buckets, but I also think that McLemore's development is a separate major factor in the team's offensive performance.)
Games like Wednesday are why Pete D'Alessandro wanted Vasquez. We need more of them.
Now, some strung-together notes on a fun game.
* NetsDaily's reaction is about as flummoxed and disappointed as you'd expect.
* McLemore didn't have a good game offensively in his first career NBA start. He took a couple of tough, contested shots, looked like he was pressing (especially in the third quarter, which made for a quick hook) and never really got into the flow that we've seen early this season. He still had that monstrous open court dunk and seemed to lock down Joe Johnson better than any other King, though.
* A weird Isaiah trend continued. Per NBA.com/stats, this season he's scoring 6.3 points on 43 percent shooting in about 13 minutes per game in the first half, and 12 points on 50 percent shooting in 15 minutes in the second half. The dirty little secret is that in a couple of the Kings' worst losses he was part of the problem (poor shooting, etc.) in the first half, but did so much during the requisite comeback attempt that we ignored it. Last night, he had 7 points on 2-6 shooting in 14 minutes in the first half and 12 points on 3-5 shooting (5-5 line) in 12 minutes in the second.
* Isaiah and Vasquez played 10 minutes together in the fourth. The Nets went small to cut into the lead, so Michael Malone used both point guards plus Thornton for much of the quarter. It worked.
* No Jimmer Fredette. So much for that, huh?
* Luc Richard Mbah a Moute similarly got left out for the most part. He did play a 4-minute stretch at power forward in the second half as the Kings' big men struggled with foul trouble.
* Cousins didn't shoot well (5-14), and Brook Lopez seemed to bother him quite a bit. Boogie hit a couple of outside jumpers early, but then started trying to put the ball on the deck and attack. In an otherwise bleak night the Nets recovered pretty well on those drives. He also missed a couple of shots off of post moves he normally makes.
* Deron Williams looks absolutely awful.
* Another strong crowd (15,122). One issue I'm seeing that doesn't really matter but still pops out is that there are a lot of open seats behind the broadcast table in the first half. The organization appears to move people down by the second half, but I'm wondering if those seats are little overpriced given the state of the team. It'd be really cool to get some loud fans in that section nightly.
* Joey Crawford made such an awful technical call on Cousins that he apparently apologized for it at halftime. He did not, however, take the freebie point away from Brooklyn. Thank goodness that didn't matter.