Nets fans had seen just one win in the last two months prior to Wednesday. Although it was played at the Kings’ new Golden 1 Center, this felt like a golden opportunity to snap the 16-game losing streak, which they FINALLY did.
The Nets (10-49), who hadn’t won a game since January 20, went into Sacramento and snapped their second longest losing streak in franchise history with a 109-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings (25-36). If the Nets had lost this one, they would have been one loss away from tying the club record in 2009-10, when they lost 18 straight at the beginning of the infamous 12-70 season.
They didn’t do anything spectacular, really. Instead, they did the simple things they needed to do in order to get the win: they held Sacramento to just two fastbreak points, shot 46 percent and 39 percent from three. The Nets scored 13 points on the break. Nothing crazy, but they dominated in that category -- one a little more important in the pace and space game the Nets want to play. They controlled the tempo from start to finish.
The duo of Jeremy Lin (17 points and five assists in 20 minutes) and Brook Lopez (24 points and eight rebounds) did what they were supposed to do. The most important thing: they closed the game out.
Closing out, the ‘BrookLin’ combo scored 14 of the final 18 points in the fourth.
It was a consistent and balanced attack all game, one in which the Nets led from start to finish.
The Nets have won their third game on the road, 10th overall.
They came out of the gate firing, starting the game on an 8-0 run which eventually blossomed into a 21-6 lead. All looked well after having three days off, but things went south once Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez checked out. Lin is still on a minutes restriction.
The Kings took advantage of Brooklyn’s bench and nailed five straight 3-pointers of their own, cutting the 15-point deficit down to one. Sure it was early, but it was another case of squandered opportunities.
As the Nets and Kings went back and forth in the second quarter, Lin assisted to Brook Lopez for his 10,000th point as a Net. It signified what should’ve gone on this entire season: Lin attracting double teams and finding ways to get Brook the ball closer to the rim.
Lopez finished the half with 14 points, Lin with eight points and three assists in nine minutes. The Nets led 57-54 at half.
The Nets and Kings stayed close in the third, but Brooklyn’s defense ultimately lifted them to a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. They finished out on a 9-2 run and held Sacramento to just 18 points in the quarter, the second lowest they’ve allowed in a third quarter this season.
Then the fourth: the Kings are fourth in the NBA for comeback victories. The Nets have lost 16 straight. This made for an entertaining fourth quarter.
The key to the fourth quarter was simply holding on until Lin and Lopez would return. The Nets owned a nine-point lead with Lopez and Lin sitting out. Isaiah Whitehead (14 points) and the Nets defense stepped up in the meantime and went on a 10-2 run.
The run kept them alive and well for Lopez’s return into the lineup…
Midway through the fourth, Lopez looked at Kenny Atkinson and demanded the ball against the smaller Skal Labissiere. Lopez immediately scored four straight points and put the Nets up by 13.
Lin checked out at the 7:01 mark of the third quarter with Brooklyn up by seven. He was reinserted with 5:01 left in the fourth as the Nets led by 11.
All they had to do was finish it out. The hardest task all season.
Sacramento made it close and got it within four with 29 seconds left, but Randy Foye and Jeremy Lin nailed the necessary free throws to end the putrid losing streak.
Caris LeVert had another fine game with 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a career-high three steals. Despite committing four turnovers, Whitehead led the bench with 14 points (7-of-7 FT). Spencer Dinwiddie played well despite making only one of five from the floor. For the fifth straight game, he finished without a turnover.
"It feels good. I love that it was a team win. Everybody contributed,” Atkinson said, post-game.
“I thought we were great grinding it out near the end. Things weren't going our way," said Lopez. "I thought we pushed through and showed a lot of fortitude."
"To get this monkey off our back just feels really, really good,” added Lin.
For Sacramento, Buddy Hield led the way with 16 points, followed up by Ty Lawson and Tyreke Evans who finished with 15 apiece. The Kings were held to 43 percent shooting and committed 15 turnovers.
LOPEZ SETS HISTORY
At the 4:18 mark of the 2nd quarter, Brook Lopez notched 10,001 points over his 9-year career. Nets social media was ready.
THAT'S 10,000 CAREER POINTS!!!— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 2, 2017
CONGRATS BROOK! pic.twitter.com/A5Rfwl5EXV
Lopez is currently second for scoring in Nets history behind Buck Williams. Williams scored 10,440 points as a Net. Lopez — the longest tenured Net — is the quickest to ever reach 10,000. With 22 games left, he should be able to pass Williams for most points in Nets history.
HEALTHY NETS, FINALLY
It took the Nets 59 games to have the entire roster healthy and rested. For the first time, all 14 players were available to play. Andrew Nicholson was inactive and the other new Nets, K.J. McDaniels, did not play.
Next up: @ Utah this Friday night.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 109, Sacramento Kings 100 - NBA.com
- Brook Lopez scores 10,000th point of his career (Video) - NBA.com
- Hield for three (Video) - NBA.com
- Hield to the hole (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets win over Sacramento (Video) - NBA.com
- Lin full highlights vs. the Kings (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Highlights: Brook Lopez (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Lin and RHJ talk about Lopez’s milestone (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Whitehead scores 14 points in 18 minutes (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Highlights: Caris LeVert (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Booker to Lin inside the paint (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Post-Game Plus (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Jeremy Lin after win vs. Kings (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson after win vs. Kings (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson before game at Kings (Video) - Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Nets win for the first time in a long time - AP
- Nets end 16-game losing streak with win at Kings - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Brook Lopez becomes only second to score 10,000 points with Nets - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Lopez passes 10,000 points, Nets snap 16-game losing streak (Game Grades) - Benny Nadeau - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets knock off Kings to end 16-game losing streak - Jason Jones - Sacramento Bee
- INSTANT REPLAY: KINGS COME UNDONE, LOSE TO LEAGUE-WORST NETS (Video) - James Ham - Comcast Sports Net