It’s been a while but the Nets won a basketball game Monday night.
Brooklyn snapped their league-high 11-game losing streak, defeating the Kings, 109-85, at Barclays Center. With the long-awaited victory, the Nets improve to 30-27 on the season. They remain in eighth place, two and a half out of sixth. It was evident from the tip that a win was the priority, playing with high energy with two new faces. And the newest Nets didn’t disappoint, playing a pivotal role in the win.
“It was great obviously to have some more bodies. Seth [Curry], LaMarcus [Aldridge] and Andre [Drummond] played well. But really I thought we continued to play with the fight, spirit, and connectivity that we’ve asked them to play with. We just got a better result tonight,” said Steve Nash after the 109-85 win. “Just proud of them. Other than a little stretch to start the third, we had our best defensive performance of the year.”
Seth Curry delivered in his Nets debut, scoring a team-high 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and 3-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. The guard also grabbed eight boards and dished five assists in his 32 minutes of play.
“He simplified it. Coach Steve, he gave us simple actions to run. If you’re a smart basketball player, you should know what to do out there,” said Curry on adjusting in his first game after only two shootarounds. “Kinda just playing fast, up-tempo pushing the ball. Letting the guards make plays and getting downhill. It wasn't difficult to learn the playbook if you know how to play. It was pretty simple.”
Curry started early.
Andre Drummond quickly proved he, too, was what the Nets were missing at the 5 spot. The newly acquired big man tallied 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal in 24 minutes of action.
“We have a great group of guys. Guys that are missing right now. We got to wait for them to get healthy but once everyone gets back, I think we’ll be very good and make a very good push in the playoffs,” said Drummond looking ahead.
Outside of the two new faces, Bruce Brown put together his best game of the season, stuffing the stat sheet with season-highs and a career-high. Brown finished his huge performance with 19 points (season-high), six boards, six assists (season-high), five steals (career-high) and three blocks (season-high) in 38 minutes. He came within two blocks of the Nets first 5x5 game since 1993.
“Bruce was amazing. You can give the game ball to Bruce,” said the Nets head coach on Brown’s performance in the win. “I think his defense was excellent in the second half. He also did a little bit of everything: handled the ball, rebounded, blocked shots, pushed it in transition. He was fantastic. Bruce gets the game ball tonight.”
Here’s one highlight...
In his first outing since hurting his ankle on January 29, LaMarcus Aldridge picked up where he left off. The veteran big man led the bench with 19 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes. Cam Thomas followed with a 14-point outing in 26 minutes. Nic Claxton, who was available for Brooklyn, did not play in the win. The Nets head coach said it is due to the depth at the five spot.
“We have five centers. It’s very hard for them all to play,” Nash said. “He’s got to be patient and see how we go here.”
The Nets put out their league-high 32nd starting five of the season — Curry, Brown, Drummond, Patty Mills and Kessler Edwards. The Nets newest guard got rolling early in the team’s early 11-2 run in the opening minutes. Unlike previous outings, Brooklyn got off to a strong start, hitting four of their first seven shots.
The shots continued to rain for Brooklyn, which was playing with an increased burst of energy led by their new faces. The lead ballooned to 31-13 with 1:43 left in the quarter off a 12-2 run. The Nets went cold in the final minute while the Kings forged an 8-0 burst to conclude the period. After one, Brooklyn led Sacramento, 35-24.
Right before the second quarter began, Ben Simmons joined his teammates on the bench. He had participated for the first time in a team shootaround earlier in the day.
Ben Simmons in the building supporting his new team pic.twitter.com/9EN5yq0Zw2— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 15, 2022
Although the shot volume remained the same for Brooklyn off sharp ball movement, the shooting percentage dipped a bit, but the 11-point lead remained strong through the opening action of the second frame. A 12-2 extended run by Sacramento, manned by De’Aaron Fox (team-high 17 points at the half), spanned nearly five minutes of play. Sacto trimmed the Nets lead to only four points but Brooklyn hit the halftime break with a 55-48 lead.
Aldridge led all Nets scorers with 12 points, followed by Brown with a spread out 12 points. Curry, who got going early in the first, tallied 11 points at the break. Brooklyn, as a team, shot 20-of-46 from the field (43.5 percent) and 5-of-17 from behind the arc (29.4 percent). The Nets dished 11 assists on their 20 made shots and controlled a 12-0 fast break advantage.
Sacramento had the upper hand early in the third. The Nets struggled to counter the Kings’ adjustment. Sacramento got within two points, but Curry put the Nets on his back.
Curry and Drummond pushed a 14-2 run that expanded the lead back up to double-digits midway through the third frame. The 28-year-old big gummed Richaun Holmes at the rim then followed up his highlight reel rejection with a series of dunks to electrify the Barclays Center crowd and grow the lead to 78-61 with three minutes left. Brooklyn ended the third period with an 80-66 lead.
Sacramento inched closer as the fourth quarter progressed. The Nets had a 16-point lead (101-85) entering the final three minutes of play. Nash and the Nets cleared the bench with 1:45 on the game clock to finish out the win.
Some things never change
Seth smoothie > James smoothie pic.twitter.com/xOfHKUz1oW— Christopher Lavinio (@ChrisLavinio) February 15, 2022
Seth Curry finished his Nets debut with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes. The only other players to register 20+ points, five or more rebounds and five or more assists in their Nets debut: James Harden (who had a triple-double in his debut), Kyrie Irving and Orlando Woolridge.
The Nets have now won 25 straight games where they held the opponent to fewer than 100 points going back to 2019.
With the addition of Seth Curry, the Nets now have four of the top seven mid-range shooters in the NBA.
Curry is also the fifth best 3-point shooter in NBA history at 43.7 percent. Joe Harris is third at 43.9.
As Sponge Bob might say...
There are only two games remaining till the Nets hit the week-long All-Star break. Brooklyn will take the short trip (depending on traffic) to Manhattan to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, February 16. The Battle of the Boroughs game is slated to tip at 7:30 p.m. ET.
For a different perspective on Monday night’s contest, check out Sactown Royalty — our sister site covering the Kings.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 109, Sacramento Kings 85 - NBA
- Game Highlights: Brooklyn Nets 109, Sacramento Kings 85 (Video) - NBA
- Seth Curry & Drummond Spark a Nets W! (Video) - NBA
- Nets Post Game Plus: Nets defeat Kings, 109-85 (Video) - YES Network
- Seth Curry on Nets debut (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Steve Nash breaks down Nets’ victory over Kings (Video) - YES Network
- Bruce Brown on Nets’ new additions (Video) - YES Network
- Andre Drummond talks Nets debut (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At: Australia edition (Video) - YES Network
- Curry leads new-look Nets in 109-85 rout of Kings - Denis P. Gorman - AP
- Seth Curry’s strong debut leads Nets past Kings - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- New Net Seth Curry helps Brooklyn beat Kings, end 11-game losing streak - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- James Harden to make 76ers debut after NBA All-Star break - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- Ben Simmons reports to the Nets in first step toward NBA return - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- Curry debuts with 23 to help Nets pull out of tailspin, beat Kings - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- When will Ben Simmons take court for Nets? Steve Nash says it will be a ‘joint decision’ - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash says Ben Simmons in ‘good place mentally,’ return still unclear - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Seth Curry, Andre Drummond key Nets to blowout win, snapping 11-game losing streak - Matthew Roberson - New York Daily News
- With Seth Curry and Andre Drummond set for Nets debuts, Ben Simmons return still far off - Matthew Roberson - New York Daily News
- GALLERY: NETS VS. KINGS - Brooklyn Nets
- Kings suffer first loss with Domantas Sabonis as Seth Curry helps Nets end losing streak - Jason Anderson - Sacramento Bee