Kings hope to end road woes against Nets
NEW YORK — The last time the Sacramento Kings won a road game over the Brooklyn Nets, the arena was located across the Hudson River and adjacent to a major highway.
The Kings will attempt to get their first road win over the Nets in nearly nine years when the teams meet Sunday night at Barclays Center.
Sacramento has not won a road game against the Nets since a 106-101 victory on Dec. 18, 2007 at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford located next to the New Jersey Turnpike.
In the Kings' last road win in the series, John Salmons scored 31 points and it was part of a 38-victory season under coach Reggie Theus.
Since then, the Kings have lost road games to the Nets in a variety of ways.
In 2009, the Kings blew a 13-point second half lead in an eight-point loss, in March 2010 Sacramento shot 35 point in an 14-point defeat in their final game at game at Meadowlands and in their lone game at Newark's Prudential Center in Oct. 2010, Sacramento squandered an eight-point lead in the final 3:40.
At least the Kings led in those games. Since the series shifted to Brooklyn, Sacramento has led for a total of 17 minutes, 14 seconds in four visits.
Last season, the Kings shot 50.6 percent but allowed the Nets to shoot 55.8 percent and were handed a 128-119 loss. The defensive effort was so sub-par that studio analyst Bobby Jackson called for the team to fire George Karl at the time.
Eventually the Kings parted ways with Karl in the offseason and hired Dave Joerger.
Joerger is the seventh coach for the Kings since their last road win in the series and has them off to a 6-10 start heading into a six-game trip.
The Kings allowed the Houston Rockets to shoot 21 of 50 from 3-point range, scored 38 points in the first half in Friday's 117-104 loss.
“We were just too loose,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “Certainly, we know they can shoot 3's, so we started to stay in there. As the roller (off the screen) was to the rim, it was either a layup or a kickout.
“We did not get back in front of the ball, especially in the first quarter. When they missed, they got offensive rebounds, and they started getting some free looks.”
Cousins led the Kings with 32 points but the rest of the starting lineup provided little help by contributing a combined 42 points on 14-of-34 shooting.
“I don't understand these starts,” Cousins said. “It's one thing is a team is making a lot of shots. It's another thing if they start missing those shots and then they get offensive rebounds and convert those to points.
“If we get those offensive rebounds, then we're down 10 and not (29). We have to have a better approach. I wish I had an answer. It's on us.”
When the Nets last hosted the Kings, they picked up their 13th win in a 21-win season. The only two players remaining from Brooklyn's roster are Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Nets take an unsightly six-game losing streak into Sunday with five of those losses by double-digits. They have allowed 122.3 points per game since their last win Nov. 12 at Phoenix.
Brooklyn is among the leaders in possessions per game but has not capitalized on its quick pace. In the last six games, the Nets are averaging 102.6 points, shooting 42.7 percent, averaging 16.3 turnovers and getting outrebounded by 59.
“It's disappointing, obviously,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We don't love (repeating the same mistakes). It's recurring. I thought the first nine games, we did a decent job. None of us are happy.”
The streak continued with Friday's 118-97 loss at Indiana when the Nets trailed by 15 at halftime, committed 19 turnovers and were outrebounded 47-38.
Indiana scored 27 points off giveaways and opponents have scored 135 points.
“They outworked us, and they were more focused than us for the majority of the game,” Lopez said. “We were lax on both ends of the floor. We need to fight and grind on every possession in order to give ourselves a shot. We have to play hard for 48 minutes.”
Compounding things is Jeremy Lin's strained left hamstring. Lin was injured in the first half of the Nov. 2 win over Detroit and the Nets have lost eight of the 10 games he has missed.
Sean Kilpatrick, Randy Foye and rookie Isaiah Whitehead have started at point guard in the last six games. The numbers by Brooklyn's starting point guards have been ugly: 41 points, 14 of 50 shooting, 15 turnovers and a minus-66.