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A Win is a Win! Nets Barely Escape with 103-100 Victory in Sacramento

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was a movie showdown in Sacramento with Wookie vs. Boogie (Nights) being the main attraction. Luckily for Brooklyn, the Wookie in Brook Lopez was the star of the night.

The Nets, behind Lopez, rallied to beat the the Kings on their home floor, 103-100. The big fella filled the stat sheet with 22 points, six blocks, six rebounds and three assists on 8-of-15 shooting. The six blocked shots are a season-high for the Nets and the highest recorded by Lopez since March 5, 2011 in London, where he blocked a career-high eight shots. The big night from Lopez comes at a crucial time for Brooklyn, a team that lost eight of nine games prior to Tuesday night's matchup with Sacramento.

It was obvious that Brooklyn had some pep in their step as they started the three-game West coast trip. They hit on their first six shots of the game, later resulting in a 36-point, 14-of-20 shooting quarter. The 36 points matched a season-high for points a quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins had a bittersweet performance. He finished with a double-double of 28 points and 14 rebounds on 10-of-24 shooting, but it was the 2-for-12 shooting in the first half, aided and abetted by Lopez's shot-blocking that agitated Cousins and hurt Sacramento's chances. If you watched closely, it was clear through Boogie's body language that he was unhappy with his teammates --and coach-- throughout a majority of the first half.

It looked like Brooklyn had this game under control, but their offense suddenly grew stagnant. It's something we've seen a whole lot this season, especially in the second half. Rudy Gay led the Kings' charge in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 points in the span of three minutes, leading to a 12-3 Sacramento run that cut the Nets' lead down to six with 4:26 remaining.

Gay finished the night with 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

It was poor possession after poor possession for Brooklyn during the last four minutes of the game. Just when you thought they could finally close out an easy victory, they proved you wrong. Due to the stagnation in their offensive sets, they were held scoreless for long periods of time as Sacramento cut the deficit down to two with 1:30 remaining. Cousins had nine points in the fourth quarter.

After recording 16 assists in the first half, the Nets finished with only six assists in the second half, thus providing more evidence of their lackluster offensive sets late in this game.

In the end it worked. Joe Johnson scored six straight points to put Brooklyn up four with 17 seconds remaining. Ben McLemore bricked a desperate three pointer and the Nets notched the victory at the free throw stripe. It was closer than it should've been, but as we always say around here, a win is a win.

Brooklyn has now improved to 5-1 this season in games decided by three or fewer points.

Johnson scored 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. His point guard, Jarrett Jack, also finished his night with 16 points and eight assists. In the middle of the two, Bojan Bogdanovic, scored 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting. All of his points came in the first quarter, where he was 3-of-6 to start the game. It was the fifth time in the last six games that he's cracked double digits. He's been more aggressive but he's still mired in a slump. In those six games, he's shooting only 43.4 percent overall and 14.3 percent from three.

Both teams shot 46% from the field, but Brooklyn's bench was the difference maker on the offensive side. They outscored Sacramento 51-18 behind Lopez and Alan Anderson (14 points).

They also outscored the Kings 38-16 in the paint in the first half, but got outscored 28-10 in the second half, thus leading to just a 48-44 advantage down low. It looked like it would be much larger than that, but the tale of two halves is a wonderful thing.

Mason Plumlee was held to just six points in 11 minutes due to foul trouble. The much anticipated matchup with his Team USA teammate turned into a Lopez vs. Cousins night, or should I say, a Wookie vs. Boogie night?

The Nets face off against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday night at 10:30PM on TNT.

"That’s Joe," said Lopez of his teammate's late heroics. "That’s who he is. He’s quiet for the first three quarters and then he’s going to come out and do his job."

For Lionel Hollins, a win is a win, but not necessarily a turning point.

"I don’t go out and think, ‘This is the moment, this is the big moment.’ Because what if it isn’t?" Hollins said. "So we just have to go out and get a win, try to be consistent in what we’re doing. And move on to the next game."

"We played the way we wanted to play in the first half and hung in there to get the win," Hollins added.

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... It was evident from tip that Brooklyn packed their offense before lifting off for their three game West coast trip. They started off the game with fluid ball movement, hitting their first six shots on five assists and 16 points in five minutes. It was only the start. They matched their season-high for points in a first quarter at 36 on 14-of-20 shooting and nine assists. Bojan Bogdanovic was the anchor with 10 points early, along with Brook Lopez, who finished with seven points and three blocks.

The Nets finished the quarter on a 12-2, extending their lead to 12, 36-24, after the first quarter of action. Here's something: DeMarcus Cousins forced five combined fouls; two on Plumlee; two on Garnett; one on Lopez. It still didn't stop them.

Second quarter ... The routing for Brooklyn continued in the second. They jumped out to a 17-9 advantage after hitting on eight of their first 13 shots of the quarter, extending their 12-point lead up to 20 at the halfway point of the quarter. It was mostly on the back of Brook Lopez, who finished the half leading all scorers with 13 points and five blocks -- the five blocked shots setting a season-high for the Nets this season.

The Nets outscored Sacramento 38-16 in the paint, while the bench doubled the home team 32-16, with Lopez and Alan Anderson (nine points) leading the charge. They also finished with 16 assists and 55% shooting, some of their best offensive statistics for a half this season.

DeMarcus Cousins was noticeably agitated throughout. He ended the half with seven points on 2-of-12 shooting, pouting at his teammates after every field goal that Brooklyn converted.

Score at the half: Nets 62, Kings 46.

Third quarter ... A 14-8 start for Sacramento decreased their 16-point deficit down to 10 with the Brooklyn offense at a standstill. It's something we've seen throughout the year, and at this point of the season, the momentary offensive lapses are nearly inevitable.

Still, the resilience showed thanks to Brook Lopez. From the moment the Kings cut the deficit to 10, the Nets outscored them 12-9 during the final stretch of the quarter and led, 82-69. This was there game to lose.

Fourth quarter ... It was poor possession after poor possession for Brooklyn during the last four minutes of the game. Just when you thought they could finally close out an easy victory, they prove you wrong. Due to the stagnation in their offensive sets, they were held scoreless for long periods of time as Sacramento cut the deficit down to two with 1:30 remaining. Cousins had nine points in the fourth quarter.

However, thanks to six straight points from Joe Johnson, the Nets were able to barely hold off the Kings. They sealed the necessary free throws and the Kings missed on the desperate heaves in order to have keep their hopes alive.

Final score: Nets 103, Kings 100

For more on the Sacramento Kings, check them out at Sactown Royalty.