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Cousins drops 37 as Kings hand Nets 7th straight loss, 122-105

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NBA: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — They are who we thought they were.

After surprising pundits, insiders and (mostly) their fans with a solid 4-5 start to the season, the Nets (4-12) have been on a hard decline since, losing their 7th straight game 122-105 to the Sacramento Kings (7-10). The Sacramento rout came behind an absurd 37-point, 11-rebound performance from DeMarcus Cousins.

During the seven-game losing streak, the Nets have allowed opponents to score an average of nearly 125 points per game. They also have not held an opposing team to less than 100 points since Nov. 4. They've only done it twice this season. Furthermore, they’re the NBA’s worst defense, allowing 113 points per game.

As they say, "Offense puts fans in the stands but defense wins ballgames."

That being said, the rest of the script may read familiar…

The Nets played well in the first half, leading 35-31 in the first quarter behind stellar play from Bojan Bogdanovic and Sean Kilpatrick. They scored 59 points in the first half and led by one.

Then the third quarter happened, and the defensive issues were further exposed.

The Kings came out of the break with an 11-0 run just two minutes into the quarter, extending their lead to seven and then later by 15 heading into the fourth quarter. They outscored the Nets 31-18 and shot 11-of-18. At that point, DeMarcus Cousins already had 30 points, including 12 in the third quarter.

“We have to fix the third quarter blues,” Kenny Atkinson said afterwards. “For some reason we don’t come out with the same requisite and the energy that we need to.”

To make matters worse, as the Nets trailed by 18 early in the fourth quarter, Matt Barnes delivered a hard foul on Sean Kilpatrick and was ejected with a flagrant two foul.

It gave Nets fans a quick scare, but Kilpatrick returned to action shortly after. The incident actually sparked the Nets and the Brooklyn faithful.

Following the flagrant two foul, the Nets answered with a 14-2 run and cut the 18-point deficit down to six. What looked to be a blowout turned into an interesting, gritty Brooklyn ballgame.

But it only lasted for a minute.

Sacramento immediately answered with a 16-0 extended run and led by 23 with five minutes remaining.

We had our fun while it lasted.

Kilpatrick finished the night leading all Brooklyn scorers with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Brook Lopez was pretty quiet for his usual self with 17 points, while Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 13. Isaiah Whitehead (11 points) was the only other player in double figures.

The Nets shot 44 percent from the field, including 16-of-39 from 3-point range, tying their season-high. The Kings shot 53.5 percent and shot 13-of-23 (41 percent) from 3-point range.

Well folks, this is what we were told to expect heading into the season. The Nets are now eight games under .500 and things aren’t getting any better. It’s all about development and rebuilding, but the Nets were punked yet again. And that’s not fun for anybody.