The Sports Informant

Your inside source for West Coast sports. Yeah, it rhymes.

Kings late lead slips away in New Jersey

By Scott Levin
Sports Informant Contributing Writer

It was beginning to look like another impressive Kings comeback effort. After trailing by as much as 18 in the first half, Sacramento cut the New Jersey lead to eight by halftime. The run continued into the second half, and the Kings found themselves up 97-89 with just over three minutes to play. But then DeMarcus Cousins fouled out. The Nets, fueled by Devin Harris, seized momentum and held off a late Kings rally to win, 106-100.

1 – The Kings starting lineup featured two new faces. One — Tyreke Evans — was expected, as the star guard returned from suspension to score 18 points and hand out 7 assists. But Paul Westphal didn’t waste any time in replacing Donte Greene with Omri Casspi at small forward. Neither player was a factor. Casspi hit just 2-of-9 from the field (0-for-5 from long range) in 20 minutes, while Greene played just four minutes off the bench. It seems like only a matter of time before Francisco Garcia, who shined again with 18 points, gets a shot to start.

2 – Sacramento received a huge boost in the second half from Darnell Jackson. With Cousins, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson all in foul trouble and Samuel Dalembert playing limited minutes, Jackson was given some unexpected playing time. A player deemed by many to be a longshot to make the Kings roster, Jackson responded by providing energy and muscle as Sacramento worked its way back from a big deficit. He finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes.

3 – The Nets dynamic duo of Harris and Brook Lopez gave the Kings fits all night. First it was Lopez, who asserted himself in the post right from the tip. New Jersey’s center was a big reason Cousins, Landry and Thompson finished with a combined 16 fouls. Harris was instrumental down the stretch. After the Kings took the lead late in the fourth, Harris came alive with a clutch triple and followed that with a jumper to extend the Nets lead. The pair finished with 50 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Quick hits – Cousins never found a rhythm due to his foul problems. He scored 12 points in 21 minutes … The Nets outshot the Kings, 52.5 percent to 41.9 percent, and shot 19 more free throws … Thompson has struggled through two games. In addition to the fouls, his shot making from close range has left plenty to be desired.


Read more of Scott Levin’s work on his Examiner.com page.

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