The Nets’ win streak moved them back atop the weak Atlantic Division, but their run ended with an 88-87 defeat to Sacramento in the opener of their five-game road trip Monday night. The Nets (20-21) led by 20 late in the third quarter, but the Kings outscored New Jersey 24-11 in the final period to earn the victory.
“We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position, being up by 20 points,” said Jason Kidd, who recorded his eighth triple-double of the season and 83rd of his career with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
New Jersey was without Richard Jefferson, who underwent surgery Monday to repair a left ankle injury that has bothered him all season. Leading scorer Vince Carter, who averages 24.6 points per game, was unable to pick up the slack, scoring just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and committing five turnovers.
“You’ve got to secure the win,” Carter said. “I don’t care how many guys we have missing. We’ve got to find a way. It was a wonderful opportunity, and we blew it.”
Krstic is done for the season, while the Nets have not set a timetable for Jefferson’s return.
Golden State (19-23) has lost six of seven games to fall into fourth place in the Pacific Division. General manager Chris Mullin made an eight-player trade with Indiana last week, hoping the deal would re-ignite the team, but the Warriors are 0-2 with the new players in uniform.
“I like the pieces that we have now,” coach Don Nelson said after a 106-104 overtime loss to Cleveland on Saturday. “That was a glimpse of the way we can play. Now it’s up to me to put guys in a position where they can succeed and not fail.”
The Warriors’ latest defeat came Monday, 108-103 to the Los Angeles Lakers, who outscored Golden State 28-18 in the fourth quarter. The Warriors got a team-high 30 points from Al Harrington, one of the newcomers from last week’s trade, and Mickael Pietrus had 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
Golden State, though, couldn’t slow down Kobe Bryant, who scored 14 of his 42 points in the final period to lift the Lakers on the one-year anniversary of his 81-point game.
“We played for 44 minutes,” Harrington said. “We could have rebounded better. I know I could have. I had only one rebound, and that may have been the difference in the game.”
The Warriors average 105.4 points, fourth in the NBA, but they allow a league-high 106.8 per contest.
The Nets are 13-4 in the last 17 meetings with the Warriors, but have lost four of the last six in Oakland. New Jersey won the first matchup of the season 105-97 at home Dec. 18.