It was a tale of a few Nets games tonight: a rapid-fire start, a lull that led to a tie game, and a fiery second-half stretch that led to some fun garbage time moments. The Kings aren't a good team, and other than a few minutes in the third quarter, the Nets treated them as such, slicing through Sacramento's underdeveloped defensive schemes and causing deflections throughout.
The star of this game was the former King himself, Marcus Thornton. But we'll talk about him in a bit. Though they had issues defending DeMarcus Cousins, they defended home court and set a franchise record by forcing their opponent into more turnovers than assists for the sixth straight game. Hard to complain.
Posted up the smaller Kings guards early to get some good looks at the basket, threw some beautiful cross-court passes, didn't commit any turnovers, and made Jason Thompson lose his legs.
All in all, a good day at the office.
Got out to a quick start all over the floor, tracking down loose rebounds, throwing one beautiful outlet pass, and throwing down one alley-oop from Joe Johnson. He's a major part of why this team can create so many deflections on the perimeter, thanks to his IQ and length.
Quietly good game from Johnson, who didn't take over the offense but played well within it.
Pierce played for all of 73 seconds before that stinger in his right shoulder got him again, keeping him out for the game. That's bad news for the Nets, who like Pierce at the 4 because of the different looks he gives them. I'd be surprised if he played tomorrow, considering how quickly he got the full-game hook.
Played with an impassioned desire to stay in the paint on most possessions, and he put down two really nice dunks -- one off the dribble in the fist half and the other on the fast break in the second. Though he struggled to defend DeMarcus Cousins, everybody not named Jason Collins did.
Entered the game earlier than usual with Pierce battling his shoulder injury, and immediately threw two beautiful passes slicing between Kings defenders. Left the game with a sprained right ankle.
It does not appear to bother him that Marcus Thornton has usurped his spot on the depth chart.
MARCUS THORNTON REVENGE GAME.
The Nets had two issues in the third quarter: they couldn't score, and they couldn't stop DeMarcus Cousins. The guy below Thornton took care of the first one, but Thornton was all over the scoring woes, dropping 21 points in the second half against his former team in a variety of fun ways inside and out and turning a close game into a blowout before Sacramento had any idea what was happening.
The Nets needed a guy like Marcus Thornton, someone who can step onto the court and shoot with reckless confidence. Joe Johnson is a slow burner, but Marcus Thornton is a firecracker with one speed: "shoot."
Played really solid post defense against DeMarcus Cousins in both sthints, limiting Cousins -- one of the best scorers in the league -- to just one putback layup in the first four minutes they played on the floor together and nothing at all in the second. It was amazing to see Collins get into Cousins's head like that, causing Collins to complain to referees and commit silly fouls. This is the type of game that Collins has that makes him valuable, even if he does little else.
Continued to show his defensive progression in the starting lineup, quickly deflecting two passes, the first of which led to a steal and a coast-to-coast layup. Without Garnett as he battles back spasms, Plumlee has shown a real knack for defending inside. Unfortunately, he can't stay out of foul trouble.
Made his NBA debut, becoming the fourth Mexican-born player in NBA history. Give him an A+ for that alone.