The Brooklyn Nets faced the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night in their second and final game this season. In their first meeting, the hot Nets dominated offensively and rolled past the Kings. They looked to do the same once again as they arrived back to the east coast. As this was Brooklyn’s first game back from the long and successful west coast road trip (5-0), they longed to make a statement back home at Barclays Center in front of their fans. Entering this game, Brooklyn was on a 6-game winning streak (20-12) and Sacramento was on a 7-game losing streak (12-18). The Nets went on to sweep the Kings in their season series and continue their impressive win streak, now at 7 games. Final score, Nets 127-118.
Hot Nets Show Out!
Right from the tipoff to the end of the 2nd quarter, the Nets were hot, firing on all cylinders. Their hot shooting from their two stars, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, was apparent. Despite not having Kevin Durant in this game, who was out due to a hamstring strain, both Kyrie and “The Beard” led the way in the first half. Whether it was Irving’s ridiculous shot making or Harden’s impeccable passing ability and court vision, they set their team up for success. The Nets were hot, scoring an absurd 72 first half points.
Not having guys like Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Jeff Green would seem like a major impact that could lead to a tough game for the Nets. However, guys stepped up on offense and on defense. The chemistry from the entire team was amazing to watch as guys were applauding and hyping up their teammates. Everyone displayed major hustle as the Nets dived for loose balls and sprinted back on defense. The energy was through the roof as 300 fans were in attendance cheering them on with Brooklyn Nets pride.
A sight for sore eyes was most definitely Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn’s secret weapon. As he was battling injuries for almost a full year now, the 20 year old finally gave a small sample of what he can do. Him being the young prodigy that he is, he showed that he can help Brooklyn out with some of their mid-season flaws, such as interior defense and defensive rebounding. Claxton can also be a key piece on offense, as he serves as an excellent pick and roll screener alongside James Harden. He is legitimately a potential key piece for Brooklyn, and it was extremely satisfying to see a healthy Claxton return to the court once again.
The Bruce Brown Show
With newcomers like Andre Roberson and Iman Shumpert getting some minutes, along with post-injury Nic Claxton, the flow of the offense was not always top notch throughout this game. The Kings struggled offensively with the Nets’ lockdown defenders in Roberson, Shump, and Clax. However, Sacramento thrived on the defensive end when those Nets players were out on the court. The players inserted into the rotation were not as smooth as people would hope for. Yet, they did have a positive influence on the game.
Brooklyn needed someone to show out in this battle against the relentless Kings. Bruce Brown starting this game, immediately made an impact. The connection between him and James Harden has been hard to ignore. With Brown’s smart and quick cuts, not to mention his finishing ability, he adds a new way to score for Brooklyn. Along with his special talents with inside scoring, he is persistent on the offensive glass. Brown’s all around skills and Harden’s playmaking go hand in hand. This was seen tonight as Harden dished out double digit assists, many of them being scored by Bruce Brown himself.
Brown notched a career-high 29 points on 85% shooting, as his efficiency was just as high as his energy was. He has consistently been substantial for this Brooklyn Nets squad nearly every game. Bruce Brown has made it clear that he has deserved his minutes, and that he wants to win. These are the types of guys that this team needs, and he is the player that Nets fans love and appreciate. If he keeps this up all season and in the postseason, the Nets’ chemistry will improve and his energy and effort will become contagious.
Acknowledging the Chemistry
Despite the Nets’ interior defense being mostly inconsistent throughout the game, DeAndre Jordan was a tremendous factor in the paint, as he tallied 4 blocks. Along with DJ, the bench helped out and showed immense effort of the defensive side. Forcing turnovers on the perimeter and closing out on shooters was commendable. Brooklyn’s hot shooting mainly carried them throughout the game though. However, the Kings battled back with their own hot shooting in the 2nd quarter. Players like Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox were getting wide open looks from 3-point range, as the Kings cut it to just a 2 point deficit.
After coming together, the Nets rallied as their lead expanded. This was able to happen due to their energy and will on the defensive end of the court. They finished the game against the Kings with key defensive stops, great ball movement, and clutch offensive rebounds. A strong finish by Brooklyn sealed the victory as this victory became their 7th straight win. The few, but ecstatic Nets fans gave their team some love as they returned to Brooklyn, continuing their domination of the league.
Brooklyn’s Home Stand
The Nets’ next game will be against the 12th seed Orlando Magic in Brooklyn. They look to continue their win streak and take the 1st seed from the 76ers, as they take on Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic. This matchup will showcase many newly announced all stars, so you don’t want to miss it. The game will be broadcasted live on YES Network 7:30PM EST.
James Harden– 29 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assist, 5/10 3PT, 9/22 FG in 41 minutes
Kyrie Irving– 21 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 8/22 FG in 36 minutes
Bruce Brown– 29 points 4 rebounds, 11/13 FG in 25 minutes
Joe Harris– 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5/9 3PT, 6/10 FG in 32 minutes
De’Aaron Fox– 27 points, 8 assists, 5/8 3PT, 9/18 FG in 38 minutes
Tyrese Haliburton– 23 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 4/9 3PT, 9/20 FG in 39 minutes
Richaun Holmes– 18 points, 11 rebounds, 9/12 FG in 26 minutes