It was certainly all Brooklyn — to say the least — filled with smiles and history.
The Nets broke out the best offensive performance of the year, blowing out the Kings, 136-125. With the win, Brooklyn improves to 17-12 on the season while extending their win streak to three games and their win streak over Sacramento to five-games. As for the Kings, the team falls to 12-15.
The Nets offensive showcase was highlighted by their ridiculous three-point shooting as the team set a new franchise-record, hitting 27 threes in the win - which marks the third highest in NBA history. Yes. 27 three’s! To make things even more appealing, Brooklyn finished the night shooting 57.4 percent from deep!
“It’s hard to look past 27 threes. That’s the type of offensive output when capable of for us. It’s really the defense we are trying to work with,” Steve Nash said following the win. “There was the middle stretch of the game where I thought we were pretty solid defensively. They are a difficult team to guard and a very capable offensive team. I thought we slowed them down, especially 20 points in the third quarter, but I thought, for the most part, the second quarter was an improvement. To start the fourth, our defense was good too and it’s tough to keep it going when they have nothing to lose but overall, I thought our defense picked up in the second quarter and proud of how we continue to grow down there.”
While yet another Nets franchise record was shattered, the story of the game was Brooklyn’s backcourt of James Harden and Kyrie Irving, who led the charge and put on a show for the late-night crowd.
Irving led the Nets, finishing with a season-high 40 points to go along with three assists and four rebounds in 31 minutes of play. The Nets’ self-described shooting guard shot 14-of-20 from the field and an electric season-high 8-of-10 from deep.
Harden followed in a huge way, posting his fifth triple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists in 34 minutes of play. With Harden picking up his fifth triple-double, he now ranks second in the Nets history books in that category behind Jason Kidd. Harden ranks eighth all-time. Aside from trailing Kidd, Harden has registered more 20-point triple-doubles in his first 15 games than any other Net in a single season. Wow.
The Nets kicked off the game with an offensive charge, led by Irving, who scored 16 points in 12 minutes. As Brooklyn was rolling offensively, their defense struggled to follow. Sacramento attacked the hole in Brooklyn’s defense - the paint - scoring 22 of their 37 points in the paint to have a 37-36 edge heading into the second.
Brooklyn carried their sterling offense into the second, lighting it up from behind the arc. The Nets ended the first half shooting 14-of-21 from deep, which marked the most three-pointers made in a first half this season.
Along with their strong shooting, the Nets defended the paint as Brooklyn held Sacramento to only 10 points in the paint in the second. To make things even sweeter, the Nets 66.7 percent from deep in the first half and tied a franchise record for three-pointers in the first half.
Brooklyn’s backcourt of James Harden and Irving was the story of the first half, scoring 41 of the Nets 74 first-half points to go along with 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Entering the third with a six-point lead, the backcourt of Harden and Irving continued to thrive and explode offensively, leading a 20-0 run (yes you read that correctly) to pull away. As a team, Brooklyn already hit a season-high 21 threes with another full quarter to go ...
Brooklyn’s defense took their foot off the gas pedal in the fourth, allowing the Kings to build momentum, but was able to hold onto their lead, ending the game with a statement win.
To complement their historic 3-point shooting night, the Nets shot 57.3 percent from the field.
As for Sacramento, Hassan Whiteside dominated the paint, scoring 26 points off the bench in 24 minutes of play followed by Cory Joseph, who had 22 points in 31 minutes of play. The King ended their loss shooting 53.1 percent overall and 36.4 percent from deep.
Now, let’s dive into some film.
The Film Room
James Harden had himself a triple-double through two-and-a-half quarters, but it was his second-quarter stretch that was the most impressive. The “James Harden with bench” minutes have been improving steadily over the course of the season. When he first landed in Brooklyn, he was passing up shots for Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot. Now, he’s masterfully balancing his scoring and passing duties.
“Very, very comfortable. Very comfortable,” said Harden of his comfortability in his new role in Brooklyn. “It wasn’t going to take me a long time. I think the communication is key; helping guys get in their spots, helping them being able to knock down shots, making the game a lot easier for each individual player because it’s going to free up myself at the end of the day.”
The stepback threes were flying...
One minute later, he used the threat of his stepback jumper to create opportunities for his teammates. To land this crosscourt pass off a series of crossover dribbles RIGHT in Landry Shamet’s shooting pocket is just... insane.
What this culminated into was a Nets squad charged up as can be. One quarter later, the Nets went on a 20-0 run, with Irving and Harden trading off buckets to sink the hopes and dreams of the city of Sacramento. Brooklyn’s backcourt was in the building.
20-0 Nets Run— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 16, 2021
34 points and 7 threes already for KAI
THIS IS FUN pic.twitter.com/X0dWpMFgxB
...But it all started with Harden’s magnificent second-quarter brilliance. Kyrie was right; Harden’s the point-guard.
James Harden on playing next to Kyrie Irving: “Like a movie.”
Kyrie Irving is an acrobat. A magician. A bucket conjuring sorcerer. We, the consumer, the poor saps staying up into the wee hours of the night.. we know this. But if you’re Kyrie Irving, you know you’re good at scoring the dang basketball when James Harden –– a perennial scoring league-leader –– marvels at your bucket-getting abilities.
“It’s a movie. It’s like a show. Sometimes I forget I’m on the court,” said Harden about Irving. “He makes them so effortless. It’s one of the reasons I’m here... We love to see it.”
Jeff Green mirrored the same message while providing more praise.
“I am going to give you the same answer James gave you. It is amazing to watch,” Green said on Irving’s big night. “In James’ words, it’s a movie man. When you have a guy like that and he’s got it going the way he had it going tonight, it’s amazing to watch. He’s a magician with the ball - I said it once before - and I love watching him when he’s in that zone. He is a hell of a player and I’m glad I’m on his side and not on the opposing side this year. We are clicking on the right cylinders right now. I’m definitely a fan.”
Point guard, shooting guard
Kyrie Irving’s disclosure that he told James Harden a few days back, ’You’re point guard, I’m shooting guard ... simple as that” became a running joke in the YES Network commentary Monday night. At one point, Ian Eagle told Rich Jefferson, “I am the play by play guy, you are the analyst.”
Then, in the post-game show, DeAndre Jordan got in on the act...
Irving said he hoped that would be the last time his comment would be discussed. Doubt it.
Joe Harris is ready a week of “Next Man Up” basketball
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but the Brooklyn Nets are upholding a “next man up” mentality. Go ahead and open up a new tab on Google Chrome (or whatever browser you use), type in “Next Man Up Brooklyn Nets” on Google’s search engine, and grab a look at what that keyword(s) finds you... Yeah, this team is used to playing with its back against the wall.
Don’t believe us? Hear it from Joe Harris, who participated in maybe the most ridiculous –– and enthralling –– period of “next man up” Nets basketball: the “bubble,” back when the Nets were without *deep breath* Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Wilson Chandler, Taurean Prince, and Nicolas Claxton.
“I think it’s about making the most of the situation that’s presented,” said Harris. “We can’t control who’s in and out of the lineup dependent on COVID protocol or injury, but whoever it is playing, we have to make the most of it. And that’s how a lot of this season is going to be. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of changes for us or anyone else in the league.”
136 points later, I’d say this iteration of “next man up” Brooklyn basketball was a success.
Steve Nash on Kevin Durant’s hamstring injury: ‘I think everyone believes it’s short-term
Prior to Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, Steve Nash spoke about Kevin Durant’s mild left hamstring strain.
Nash does not have a timeline for Durant’s return noting how the Nets superstar will miss at least Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns and Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Both games will be nationally televised.
“I have no timelines but I know he will miss tonight and tomorrow night and then we will continue to monitor it,” Nash said. “I don’t think it's a long-term thing but I don’t want to give it the kiss of death and proclaim that right now. We will keep monitoring it and hopefully, it’s a short-term thing but he’s definitely out tonight and tomorrow.”
As for when the injury occurred, Nash believes the injury took place in Saturday’s win against the Golden State Warriors. When asked about imaging for the injury, the Nets head coach says everyone believes it’s a short-term thing but noted how imaging is not always accurate.
“I believe it happened in the game,” Nash said on KD’s injury. “The imaging, it doesn’t appear to be a long-term injury. Hopefully, it’s something we can get through quickly but you never know. Sometimes imaging is spot on and sometimes imaging represents something larger than what actually has taken place so I don’t want to venture too far out and predict how long he will be out. I think everyone believes it’s short-term.
Shamet heating up
Landry Shamet played one of his best games of the season, scoring 13 points, hitting 3-of-7 from three. Shamet has gotten hotter as the season has worn on. The career 39 percent shooter from three hit only 25.0 percent of his shots in December, then 32.7 percent in January and now, 38.9 percent in February. In fact, in the last five games, Shamet has shot 8-of-18, 44.4 percent.
Or as Sponge Bob might say...
Per Will Hanley.
The Nets will play game three of their five-game west coast road trip when the team travels to Phoenix to play the Phoenix Suns Tuesday, Feb. 16. The game is set to tip-off at 10:00 PM ET and will be broadcasted on TNT.
For a different perspective, check out Sactown Royalty - our sister site on SB Nation covering the Sacramento Kings.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 136, Sacramento Kings 125 - NBA.com
- Game Highlights: Brooklyn Nets 136, Sacramento Kings 125 (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: Nets defeat Kings, 136-125 (Video) - Nancy Newman - YES Network
- Ian Eagle and Richard Jefferson break down the Nets’ win (Video) - YES Network
- Kyrie Irving on strong performance in win (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Steve Nash on impressive offensive showing against the Kings (Video) - YES Network
- James Harden on Nets’ improvements in victory (Video) - YES Network
- Nets break franchise record in 136-125 victory (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Irving scores 40, Harden triple-double as Nets thump Kings - Michael Wagaman - AP
- Nets can team-record 27 from deep in defeat of Kings - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets put on absolute show in domination of Kings - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets don’t have a timetable for Kevin Durant’s return - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets signing defensive specialist Andre Roberson - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets set franchise record for three-pointers in win over Kings - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Steve Nash hopes Kevin Durant’s injury isn’t long-term - Greg Logan - Newsday
- With Kevin Durant missing Monday night’s game, Nets’ Big 3 again can’t get into a rhythm - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets set team record for threes with 27 in win over Kings - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets must prove their defense isn’t just a flip-on switch - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- James Harden: This game ‘the vision’ as Brooklyn Nets hit 27 3s - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets waive Norvel Pelle, sign Andre Roberson - Coby Green - SNY
- GAME GRADES: Nets Scorch the Kings with Franchise-Record Performance - Elizabeth Swinton - The Brooklyn Game
- NETS 136, KINGS 125: KYRIE IRVING SCORES 40 POINTS, JAMES HARDEN POSTS TRIPLE-DOUBLE - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- NETS VS. KINGS: JAMES HARDEN, JEFF GREEN, AND STEVE NASH TOP QUOTES - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. KINGS - Brooklyn Nets
- Kyrie Irving scores 40; James Harden posts triple-double as Brooklyn Nets blast Kings - Sacramento Kings