It looked like they gave up. The Sacramento Kings physically walked onto the court for a basketball game, but mentally were ready for a nap. Sleepwalking through the first two quarters, the Brooklyn Nets took full advantage, building a huge lead they used to stave off a furious late rally to win 103-100.
The first half was one Kings fans will want to forget immediately. Sloppy play, nonexistent defense, and zero pride was the name of the game. The Nets, a team that averages around 92 points per game, blasted the Kings with 36 first quarter points and 62 points at the half via a combination of hot shooting and apathetic Kings defense. They frequently got behind the Kings for backdoor cuts, easily got all the way to the rim on drives, and thrashed the Kings on the boards. Brook Lopez in particular was unstoppable, scoring 13 first half points on his way to 22 for the game. Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins shot a combined 4/20 in the first half, which didn't help matters.
The third quarter saw the Kings somewhat chugging to life. They were able to cut a 17 point lead down 10 at times, and while the offense wasn't explosive, they were able to finally get a hold of the Nets defensively, winning the quarter 23-20. In the fourth quarter, Gay exploded to life, scoring 14 of his 25 points in the frame. The Kings whittled the lead down to only two points with one minute to go, but Joe Johnson hit a clutch three pointer to just keep the Kings out of reach.
The Kings took far too long to get their heads into this game, but at least they haven't completely given up. One thing is for certain: they aren't responding to Tyrone Corbin like they responded to Michael Malone. There is still some fight left in this team, but its tough to keep that fire burning with another lost season on the horizon. Keeping the attention of the players will be a big challenge for Corbin moving forward, which is of the utmost importance because there are several players on this team in the long term plans. The Kings next play the Warriors, and if they come out like a pack of zombies again, they could be down 50 at halftime.
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