Brooklyn Nets 111-116 Sacramento Kings (OT): Three Takeaways

The Nets can't overcome turnovers in a disappointing loss

SACRAMENTO – The Kings (19-43) sat out a key veteran contributor in Zach Randolph, yet the Nets (20-43) weren’t able to capitalize in a frustrating 116-111 overtime loss at Golden 1 Center.

Turnovers and poor shot selection were crippling for Brooklyn, which led by as much as nine in the second quarter. Despite some poor decision-making in the second half, the Nets kept the game close due to their improved rebounding – an 51-44 edge. The team would go up 100-98 thanks to two free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie, but De’Aaron Fox ultimately forced overtime with a buzzer-beating tear drop layup.

In overtime, the Nets would take a two-point advantage before being undone by several questionable passes and shots. Buddy Hield would give the home side a lead, which it didn’t relinquish.

Fox led the Kings with 21 points and three blocks and two steals, while DeMarre Carroll was the Nets’ top scorer with 22 points to go along with 10 boards on 8-for-12 shooting. The Nets are now 0-5 in OT games. Carroll vented his frustration after the game.

“We didn’t execute, the whole team [didn’t]. It’s been a repetitive thing,” he said. “We keep saying we’re in these games, then we lose by one or lose by two. Someday, we got to get it.

“If we don’t get it, we’re going to keep losing games like this one. I feel like this one [loss] hurt more than any other [loss] because we had ample opportunities to win this one.”

Brooklyn’s Backcourt Can’t Find Consistency

As Carroll alluded to, it was one of those games where the Nets lost the game as opposed to the Kings winning it. One area where the visitors struggled throughout the game was in the backcourt as Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell had issues with shot selection and decision making throughout the game.

Dinwiddie was part of the Nets’ improved rebounding effort with six boards, but he struggled with his shot as he finished 3-for-10, going 0-for-6 from downtown. Russell’s late turnovers overshadowed what was an otherwise good night of passing the ball as he had 11 assists. He also struggled with his shot, scoring 12 points on 30.7 percent shooting. Russell held himself accountable after the game.

“Myself, [I] turned the ball over, that really hurt us,” Russell said. “We were going tit-for-tat, bucket for bucket, so we just got to be better at that. I think we win this game if I didn’t turn the ball over.

“Just turned the ball over in general, there’s no excuse for that.”

D’Angelo Russell admitted this was a difficult result for the Nets to take.

“This one hurt,” Russell said. “They all hurt, but this one had a different feel for it.”

After promising games against the Bulls and the Cavaliers, the backcourt pair reverted into some bad habits on Thursday night. Despite the two players combining for 16 assists, there were times they became too reliant on isolations, which hurt the Nets on several possessions.

“I think the lack of ball movement [hurt]. We were stagnant, stagnant on both ends,” Carroll explained. “We weren’t moving the ball, we weren’t screening, we weren’t doing any of the little things that got us the lead – sharing the ball.”

He added, “So now you’re stagnant, you’re forced to play one on one – that’s not the type of team we are. We can’t predicate our game on being on a one on one team.”

Nets Respond to Atkinson’s Rebounding Call

Atkinson has made rebounding a point of emphasis in his past few press conferences and it appears as if his team got the memo.

Brooklyn outrebounded Sacramento 51-44. Which it’s a slight edge, it’s a significant improvement from the previous matchup between these two teams, where the Kings dominated 48-38. It was also a sign of progress from Tuesday’s game against the Cavaliers as the Nets were outrebounded by a whopping 26 boards.  

Jarrett Allen, Carroll, Dinwiddie and Dante Cunningham had an important role on the glass as the group combined for 35 of the Nets’ rebounds.

The Nets caught a lucky break when it was revealed prior to the game that Randolph would be rested for Thursday night’s game. He was one of the driving forces behind the Kings’ win in Brooklyn back on Dec. 22 as he poured in 21 points and eight rebounds on 72.7 percent shooting. Still, Sacramento had a considerable size advantage as they started with two 6-foot-11 players in Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein.

“Last game, coach was getting on us for rebounding, so I wanted to make an emphasis on it tonight,” Allen said after the game.

Allen Continues Strong Run

Up against one of the bigger frontcourts in the league, Allen held his own.

The rookie center finished the game with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, going 6-for-9 on the floor. This has been a good stretch for the Nets’ rookie as he’s been averaging 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on 61.9 percent shooting in his past five games.

Still, Allen has room for improvement as evidenced by a rare off-night in turnovers (six), but he continues to make strides as the season progresses.

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