A historic shooting night propelled the Brooklyn Nets to their third straight win, a 136-125 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
The Nets made a franchise record 27 3-pointers, two shy of the NBA record, and led by as many as 28 points midway through the fourth quarter. Brooklyn’s season high for 3-pointers made coming in to the game was 19, but they had surpassed that by the end of the third quarter in the midst of a 20-0 run that broke the game open.
Already second in the NBA in 3-point percentage, the Nets shot 57.4 percent in making 27-of-47, part of an overall 57.3-percent shooting night (51-for-89).
Leading the way was Kyrie Irving, who put up season highs of 40 points and nine 3-pointers made, making 15-of-22 shots overall and nine of his 11 3-point attempts.
“When you have a guy like that, a guy that's going the way he had it going tonight, it's amazing to watch,” said Jeff Green. “He's a magician with the ball, I've said it once before, and I love watching him when he's in that zone. He's a hell of a player and I'm glad I'm on his side and not on the opposing side this year. We're clicking on the right cylinders right now. We've just got to continue to work. I love watching him play, I love watching James (Harden) play, I'm definitely a fan.”
Harden continued to make the extraordinary routine, with his fifth triple-double in 15 games as a Net. Harden scored 29 points with 14 assists and 13 rebounds, shooting 10-for-18 overall and 6-for-10 from 3-point range.
But much like in Saturday’s win over Golden State, the Nets got scoring from all over, with seven players in double figures. Landry Shamet and Green had 13 points each and Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan, and Tyler Johnson had 10 each. Jordan had eight rebounds as well.
It was the sixth time in the last 10 games the Nets shot at least 50 percent from the floor, and the fifth time they had at least 30 assists in that same stretch.
“When everybody's confident in what they can do, it just opens the floor up and allows people to get easy looks,” said Green. “When you have Shamet coming off shooting the way he's shooting, Bruce doing what he doing, the hustle plays, the little things, TLC knocking down shots, Tyler coming in giving us great minutes, picking up full court, knocking down shots that just opens up the floor for Kyrie, for James, (Kevin Durant) when he was in last game. Also myself, giving lobs to DJ, that opens the floor. That's what we need. We need everybody to be confident in what they do best. We gotta continue to share the ball because it's only going to make the game easy for us.”
Irving got off to a quick start with back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game, and went on to score 16 of Brooklyn’s first 28 points before the Kings took a 37-36 lead after the first quarter.
Tied at 46 midway through the second quarter, the Nets made 7-of-8 shots in an 18-6 run, with Shamet knocking down two 3-pointers and scoring eight points in the burst that put Brooklyn up 64-52. Sacramento returned the favor with a 14-4 run to get within two points before late threes from Irving and Harris put the Nets up 74-68 going into halftime.
Brooklyn tied a franchise record for 3-pointers made in a half with 14, shooting 66.7 percent on 21 attempts, and shooting 60.9 percent overall in the first half with Irving putting up 23 points and Harden 18. In the second quarter alone, the Nets shot 68.2 percent (15-of-22) and 77.8 percent on 3-pointers (7-of-9).
Things stayed tight until the back half of the third quarter, when the Nets turned a two-point game into a 102-80 lead with a 20-0 run over a five-minute span. Green started it all with an emphatic dunk, Jordan finished a lob from Harden, and Harris and Irving drained back-to-back threes for a 92-80 lead. Irving and Harden combined for the next 10, and Nets took a 107-88 lead into the fourth quarter. They pushed that lead to 128-100 midway through the fourth quarter before the Kings cut into the lead in the final minutes.
“It’s really the defense that we're trying to continue to work with,” said Nash. “There was the middle stretch of the game I thought we were pretty solid defensively. They're difficult to guard, very capable offensive team. I thought we slowed them down, especially 20 points in the third quarter. But I thought for the most part the second quarter was an improvement. And to start the fourth our defense was good too. It’s tough to keep it going when they have nothing to lose and they start making shots from everywhere. But overall I thought our defense really picked up in the second quarter. And I was proud of the way we continue to grow down there.”