THE FACTS: In a tale of two ships passing in the night, the Sacramento Kings went down for their fifth consecutive loss as the Brooklyn Nets won their fifth in a row by a score of 99-90. The home team gave it a good run, but turnovers and poor free-throwing shooting down the stretch hurt their chances.
Andray Blatche led the way for the Nets, scoring 22-points on 11-for-12 shooting. A banged-up Deron Williams finished with 14 points and 10 assists, while MarShon Brooks added 14-points in just 12 minutes off the bench.
DeMarcus Cousins finished strong, scoring 11 of his game-high 29-points in the fourth quarter. Tyreke Evans had one of his better games of the young season, scoring 21 points while grabbing seven rebounds in the loss.
QUOTABLE: "We only preach team here. It's not about 'I,' it's about team and it's about us. On a night like tonight when our big guys weren't in their best form, that's when other guys need to step up."
--Nets coach Avery Johnson
THE STAT: The Kings had four total assists in the first half on 19 made baskets as their offense continues to stagnate. The Kings also shot just 10-for-19 from the free throw line, which never feels good in a nine-point loss.
THE STAT II: The Nets' bench outscored the Kings' bench 52-26.
TURNING POINT: The Nets let the Kings hang around in this one, but an early fourth quarter push proved to be the difference. After cutting the Nets lead to 76-74 at the 9:20 mark of the fourth, the Kings were outscored 23-16 down the stretch.
QUOTABLE II: "With the way that we've been playing recently -- not that we've been perfect, they're sensing something starting to happen. We're still on the ground floor, but something is starting to happen."
-- Avery Johnson on his teams five game winning streak
HOT: Holy Blatche! The Nets reserve big man lit the Kings up in the first half, hitting nine straight shots on his way to 18 huge points before the break. Blatche finished with a team-high 22 points, missing only one shot 20 minutes of action.
NOT: Joe Johnson was a complete non-factor in this one. The Nets big free agent acquisition finished with 10 points on 1-for-10 shooting. Most of his points came late in the game from the free throw line.
GOOD MOVE: Kings coach Keith Smart went to a new starting lineup and his team instantly responded. Win or lose, the Kings played a much better brand of basketball today in front of their home crowd.
BAD MOVE: With the game in the balance, Smart stuck with James Johnson instead of going back to Evans during a pivotal stretch in the fourth quarter and it proved disastrous. Johnson looked lost on the offensive end, running into tight spots and throwing the ball out of bounds for a bad turnover with just over six minutes remaining and his team trailing by eight.
NOTABLE: Blatche and Brooks combined for 36-points on 16-for-18 shooting off the Nets bench. C.J. Watson added another 13 points on 3-for-4 shooting from distance as part of the Nets second unit.
UP NEXT: For the Nets: Tuesday @ Lakers, Wednesday @ Golden State, Friday vs. Clippers. For the Kings: Wednesday vs. Lakers, Friday @ Utah, Saturday vs. Jazz.