The Sacramento Kings led 60-55 after the first half of what had been a relatively back and forth affair in Brooklyn on Martin Luther King Day, but as has happened all too often lately, the Kings allowed the Nets to quickly come out and control the game in the third quarter. The lead turned into a deficit shortly thereafter and then quickly into a rout as Brooklyn continued to get whatever shot they wanted while Sacramento turned the ball over, settled for bad shots and simply forced the issue. Brooklyn ended up outscoring the Kings 30 to 9 in the fourth quarter alone.
Sacramento’s only real saving grace tonight was Bogdan Bogdanovic, who scored 22 points on 9-19 from the field to go with a career-high 11 assists. Bogdanovic was key in giving the Kings the lead in the first half but couldn’t carry his team in the second as nobody else really stepped up to help. Justin Jackson finished with 14 points on 6-8 from the field to go with 5 rebounds. The Scores most definitely weren’t in town tonight, as De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Iman Shumpert combined for just 24 points on a putrid 9 of 34 from the field. Shumpert alone was an awful 1-10 from the field and continued to jack up long two point jumpers. Nemanja Bjelica continued to see his role diminish after some sloppy defense and bad shots and played just a little over 4 minutes but still managed to be a -7 on the game.
The Kings as a team let the Nets get way too many layups and opportunities at the rim, and the Nets shot 50.6% from the field as a result. The Nets also outrebounded the Kings 55 to 37, including 12 offensive rebounds. D’Angelo Russell, fresh off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, looked the part of an All-STar scoring 31 points, including 7 of 14 from long range, to go with 8 assists in 32 minutes. Rookie Rodions Kurucs also abused the Kings with crafty moves to the rim to score 16 points and Joe Harris added 19.
The Kings have not been playing particularly well lately. Their pace is down, guys like Bjelica and Shumpert have fallen down to earth and they’re losing games as a result. They’re a miraculous effort from Buddy Hield away from being 0-3 on this road trip, and they’re in all likelihood going to drop another one tomorrow as they face the Eastern conference leading Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back to back.
The Kings need to rediscover their mojo if they hope to make the playoffs. It’s a long season, and the Kings’ pace finally seems to be catching up to them. The team was a surprise early on in the season, but teams are starting to figure them out. It’s time for them to adapt and grow. They can’t be making the same mistakes and expecting different results.