By Dave “Deuce” Mason
The Brooklyn Nets starting lineup features three players who have combined for 10 All-Star appearances but on Sunday it wasn’t Deron Williams, Joe Johnson or Gerald Wallace carrying the load in the 99-90 victory of the Kings—it was the bench.
The Nets received a huge lift with 52 points from their second unit including 22 points from Andray Blatche (11-12 FG) and 14 points from MarShon Brooks (5-6 FG).
DeMarcus Cousins finished with 29 points and seven rebounds but said his team did not box out well and allowed Blatche to get in a rhythm with easy shots.
“When you’re getting easy buckets like that it’s not hard to get your game going,” Cousins said of Blatche’s performance.
Guard Marcus Thornton said the Kings didn’t get out on Blatche which allowed him to have a big second quarter.
“If you followed him you know he can score so you have to get out on him,” Thornton said. ”(You) can’t let him get confidence.”
Sacramento has now lost five straight games and the Kings (2-8) are off to their worst start since the 1990-91 season when they started the season 2-8.
Head coach Keith Smart made some changes to his starting lineup on Sunday. Smart started Aaron Brooks at point guard instead of Isaiah Thomas and John Salmons got the start at small forward in place of James Johnson.
Brooks played 18 minutes and finished with four points while Salmons scored two points in 28 minutes.
Smart said he plans to keep the same starters.
Point Guard Production:
PGP is a statistic we’ve been tracking this season and it continues to be a dismal number for the Kings.
Smart used Thomas, Brooks and Jimmer Fredette against Brooklyn and the three guards combined for eight points, four assists and two turnovers.
“Hey, I’m Open!”
The Kings finished with 13 assists and 17 turnovers against the Nets and remain near the bottom of the NBA at 17.8 assists per game—down from last season’s average of 19.3 per game.
Cousins said the team did a better job of sharing the ball against Brooklyn and said he’s making more of an effort to move the ball.
“I’ve been on a mission to find the open man, find the cutting teammate and just help my teammates get better,” Cousins said.
“I know as the leader of the team if they see me doing it, it’ll spread onto the rest of the team. “
A Look Ahead
The Los Angeles Lakers come to Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night. The Lakers will be coming off a back-to-back and new head coach Mike D’Anton is expected to be on the sidelines.
The Kings lost their last meeting against the Lakers on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles. Cousins and rookie Thomas Robinson missed the game due to suspensions and the Kings lost 103-90.
Hear Dave “Deuce” Mason on The Jason Ross Show and follow him on Twitter: @DeuceMason