Kings Blog

Sacramento Kings’ ballhandling hands win to Brooklyn Nets

Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, in New York. The Nets won the game 107-99.
Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, in New York. The Nets won the game 107-99. AP

This was the kind of night DeMarcus Cousins had seen too much of in his first four seasons. The kind of night he’d hoped was a thing of the past.

But lately, things haven’t been going how the Kings had hoped and that was the case again Monday night as they fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 107-99, at Barclays Center.

The Kings have lost eight of their last 10.

The Kings didn’t appear to have the urgency needed to a win a road game most of the night as they committed 21 turnovers and fouled enough to allow the Nets to shoot 39 free throws, the most by a Kings opponent this season.

The Nets also scored 25 points off the Kings’ turnovers.

Lack of focus plagued recent Kings teams and threatens to be a problem again if there are more efforts like Monday’s.

“Reggie (Evans) even said it at halftime, shooting around at halftime,” Cousins said. “We had to hold a huddle and tell guys to pick up their energy. We weren’t ready to play.”

For most of the season there has been no questioning the Kings’ intensity. But Monday, that was a concern as the Kings couldn’t take care of the ball.

After the Kings cut the Nets’ 15-point lead to 93-88 with 5:12 to play, they had defensive lapses that left Mirza Teletovic open for two three-pointers as part of an 8-2 run to put the game away.

“Breakdowns in defensive rotations,” said coach Tyrone Corbin. “Those were costly mistakes to give them an 8-2 run to open the game up for them.”

That the Kings were in the game late made it more frustrating for Cousins.

“Even as bad as we played (Monday) we still had opportunities to win the game,” Cousins said. “We just didn’t come through in those opportunities. Brooklyn flat-out outplayed us.”

The turnovers, however, were the biggest problem. The Nets shot 45 percent, one of the Kings’ better defensive efforts of late.

The Kings shot 48.7 percent from the field, and 45 percent from the three-point line, both above their season averages.

“We’ve got to value the ball,” Cousins said. “Show some urgency on a nightly basis. Act like we care.”

Guard Darren Collison said the Kings have to focus better to cut down the mistakes as they try to learn more of Corbin’s offensive sets.

Corbin has only been the coach seven games since Michael Malone was fired Dec. 14.

“I think it’s more attention to detail,” Collison said. “I think once we understand the purpose of the play, who to get open and set screens better, get better spacing. ... I think a lot of our turnovers come from poor spacing, not setting good screens.”

Rudy Gay led the Kings (13-18) with 25 points. Cousins had 24 points and 13 rebounds and five turnovers.

Cousins shot 9-for-12, but only took three shots in the fourth quarter. His first was with 11:17 to play. Cousins didn’t get another shot up until there was 3:12 to play and the Kings were down 11.

Asked if that had to do with the Nets’ defense, Cousins said, “Yeah I give credit to Brook (Lopez).”

The sarcastic comment came after Lopez, the former All-Star who has been benched, played only 12 minutes.

Mason Plumlee, who now starts at center for Brooklyn, led the Nets (14-16) with 22 points.

Cousins was able to find a positive about the game as it relates to the rest of the season.

“When you go through situations like this and things get tough, you start to see people’s real, true colors,” Cousins said. “You’re going to see who’s in and who’s really not. So as bad as this may seem, it’s also a good thing because you’re going to know who’s ready to go to battle with you every night.”

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