The Nets reign three’s on the Kings as their offense finally exploded on Friday night. The Nets hosted the Sacramento Kings and their 21st ranked Defense (according to Basketball Reference). The Nets tallied their season high in points (128), obliterated their previous season high of 12 made 3-pointers in a game (they knocked down 18), while tying their season high in 3-point attempts with 28.
It started early during the 1st quarter when Bojan Bogdanovic nailed back to back 3-pointers and Joe Johnson knocked down a few of their own, and although the Kings made multiple runs over the course of the game, the outside shooting continued all night as unlikely as it seems for this Nets team and they came away with one of the more entertaining victories of the season.
Their opponent helped as not only is the Kings defense a bit lackluster, but they play at the league’s fastest pace (99.8 possessions per game via Basketball Reference). This game was played fast with 101 possession. And on top of that, the Kings lost one of their best players, and a difference maker on the wing in Rudy Gay. He went down in a heap on a defensive rotation early in the 1st quarter, returned in the waning seconds of the 1st and to start the 2nd but left shortly after and never returned.
With Gay out of the game, the wing tandem of Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic had their way totaling 50 points and shooting 19 of 26 from the field ( 73%) and 12 of 16 from the 3-point line (75%). Donald Sloan joined the party in the second half. He finished with 17 points including 4 of 5 from the 3-point line. The Nets as a team finished 18 of 28 from the 3-point line, good for 64% on the game in an absolute offensive explosion for a team that has been defined by their struggles from the outside offensively all season.
The Nets defense continued to struggle as they gave up 119 points (admittedly on lots of possessions). The Nets did a nice job on DeMarcus Cousins in the first half though he started to heat up a bit in the second he was never truly dominant, a credit to the Nets team defensive schemes. Darren Collison lit up Shane Larkin when the benches took the floor and Rajon Rondo was seemingly throwing lobs to Willy Cauley-Stein all night on his way to pairing 15 assists with his 15 points.
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To the Nets credit it was more than just a good shooting night. The outside shooting edge (54-24) made up for the fact that the Nets turned the ball over 10 more times than the Kings. But the Nets also dominated a good rebounding team 46-31 and mostly controlled the paint. The absence of Rudy Gay obviously aided in this category but it was impressive nonetheless given Cousins and some of the Kings other front court players.
Where the Nets really shined last night was in their ball movement. It was the great ball movement and balanced floor spacing that led to so many open and good looks. The Nets average 291 passes attempted per game according to NBA.com’s Player Tracking statistics which puts them around 22nd in the NBA. Last night, they totaled 343 total passes, a mark that would put them 3rd in the NBA just above the Spurs.
For the Nets, the win snapped a 5-game losing streak and gave Tony Brown his 3rd win in 14 tries. The Nets have now won three homes games within their last 19. They look to steal another win in Philadelphia tonight before a four game home stand that straddles the All-Star break before they leave town for the annual Barclays Circus road trip (9-games total).