It was going well until it wasn’t. The Brooklyn Nets were looking to get their fourth straight win to close out their five game road trip. They were in control in the first half, but things went sideways in the second as the Oklahoma City Thunder stormed back and won by 14. The team closed the trip at 3-2.
Light the beam! The Sacramento Kings have been the best story of the season as they’ve shattered all expectations and are in great position to land a top three seed. They helped the cause some more with a last second Houdini act to beat the Chicago Bulls last night.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 7:30 PM.
No Ben Simmons. David Duke Jr. and Dru Smith will be with Long Island.
Richaun Holmes is out with a non-COVID illness. Night two of a back-to-back so who knows if some rotation players will get the night off.
Sacramento won the first game back in November.
So, a quick detour. At the end of February, our fellow SB Nation site, Sactown Royalty, had the carpet pulled out from under them by the big bosses. As a result, Kings fans lost a valuable outlet that was providing awesome coverage as the team is having their best season in almost 20 years. It’s deeply, deeply enraging and I hope all the folks affected are able to land on their feet.
I saw this tweet a few days, and it STILL blows my mind:
Mike Brown joins Rick Adelman as the only two coaches in Sacramento Kings history to win 40 games in a season.— Greg (@gwiss) March 12, 2023
For the Nets, they can stand to be a bit neater down the stretch tonight. The offense fell apart down the stretch as shots were hard to come by. It was a stark contrast from the first half where the ball was moving all over the place. The pace of this one will be lightning fast, so the Nets will have to strike the right balance and above all else, keep the turnovers down.
Trey Lyles wyd big dawg
Brook Lopez and Trey Lyles both got ejected after wild scuffle pic.twitter.com/OmzV0BwtfK— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 14, 2023
He got a one-game suspension for his shenanigans and will be back tonight.
As per usual, 3-point shooting will determine this contest. Both clubs are top ten in 3-point percentage on the season. However, that doesn’t tell the entire story. Since the All Star break, the Kings are second in 3-point efficiency while the Nets are 24th. Brooklyn is catching a slight break as they’re getting the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back, and fresh off a close, intense game the night before as well. Will that tire Sacramento out? Who knows, but it’s something the Nets are hoping for.
Slowing De'Aaron Fox down is going to be a heck of a challenge for the Nets. Fox can stop on a dime, go from zero to full speed at a moment's notice, is dynamite in the midrange area, and is a clutch time monster.
DE'AARON FOX CALLED GAME— NBA (@NBA) March 16, 2023
KINGS WIN IN CHICAGO pic.twitter.com/ZVNNIcaAS9
Fox has stuck with it and earned a well deserved All-Star nomination this year. He deserves an All-NBA nod as well, and if he finishes this season on a high note, is a good bet to make the team.
For Brooklyn, they will have their hands full dealing with Fox. Mikal Bridges will probably get this assignment. Bridges has guarded the opponent’s best perimeter player and often picks them up full court. It’s gonna take a team effort to keep up with the Kings, and on the other side, the Nets should look to get him the ball more often if it’s close late. When you grow into the lead option for your team, the next step in stardom and beyond is you being the focal point of the attack in crunch time. Bridges isn’t there yet, but if given the keys to the offense, he can learn on the fly and make good things happen.
Player to watch: Domantas Sabonis
Feels safe to say that Sabonis is a bet to make All-NBA during awards season. The big fella has had the best season of his career and is averaging 19 points a night on .610/.370/.763 shooting splits. Not to be outdone, he leads the league in rebounding at over 12 a night and is averaging around seven assists per game as well, doing his father, Arvydas proud. Having a big that can initiate the offense at a high level is a blessing, makes life easy for their teammates, and opens up a world of possibilities on offense.
Nic Claxton will look to hold the boards down for Brooklyn. With Nerlens Noel reportedly not on the roster anymore, Clax is the last traditional big man left on the team. Like most of the Nets, he had a rough day at the office in the first meeting way back in November. Brooklyn will need to be a lot better on defense, and that starts with protecting the rim. Sacramento is third in efficiency inside the restricted area as they’ve made 70.2 percent of their shots inside that region. Keeping them on the perimeter and forcing them into a rough shooting night is the key for Brooklyn tonight. They’re going to need a big night from their lone big man, and it’ll take a total team effort to keep the Nets in the playoff chase.
From the Vault
Yesterday, Bobby Caldwell passed away. He’s got a myriad of classics, so let’s pull one up
On a happier note, it’s 3:16!
More reading: Sactown Royalty and The Kings Herald
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Sacramento Kings Game Notes - Sacramento Kings
- Kings face Nets with chance to seal winning road mark - STATS
- Sacramento takes road win streak into matchup with Brooklyn - AP
- Nets face playoff contenders during tough home stretch - Dan Martin - New York Post
- Nets decline to sign Nerlens Noel to second contract - Dan Martin & Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets approaching season-defining stretch of games - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News