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Nets 104, Kings 89

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Playing against his former team, Nets guard Marcus Thornton recorded 27 points off the bench, helping Brooklyn beat the Sacramento Kings 104-89 Sunday night.

The Nets (31-30) won for the fifth time in six games. Since Jan. 1, Brooklyn is 21-9.

Thornton shot 11-for-15 from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range. He was acquired by Brooklyn in a trade that sent forward Reggie Evans and guard Jason Terry to the Kings on Feb. 20.

Nets guard Joe Johnson provided scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while guard Deron Williams added 10 points and seven assists.

After a frustrating first half, the Kings started to move the ball effectively to complement their hard-nosed style of play, erasing a 16-point deficit. Using their strength and size down low to open up the Nets' defense, the Kings (22-41) opened the second half on a 17-6 run to tie the score at 57.

The Nets answered with a 12-4 run in the third before blowing it open, outscoring the Kings 47-32 in the last 19:13 of the game. Nets center Jason Collins did well to shut down Kings leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins to spark the third-quarter surge, but Sacramento's center had a big night, recording 28 points and 20 rebounds.

Brooklyn began the night without forward Kevin Garnett, who missed his fifth game in a row due to back spasms, and the Nets quickly lost another veteran presence. Guard Paul Pierce left the game a minute in after he aggravated a right shoulder injury that was hampering him for the past three games. He did not return to action.

Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko and Kings guard Rudy Gay left the game for good in the third quarter, each picking up ankle injuries. Gay finished with 20 points.

The Nets, who have experienced both fast and slow starts in recent weeks, opened the game on a 17-4 run.

The quick lead coupled with a stifling defense gave coach Jason Kidd a chance to rest his starters as his side carried a nine-point lead into halftime.

NOTES: The Nets reached the .500 mark last week for the first time since Nov. 5, when they were 2-2. ...The Kings began play Sunday 15 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Their record would have left them four games out in the East. ... Three Sacramento players -- G Isaiah Thomas, F Rudy Gay and C DeMarcus Cousins -- average at least 20 points per game. However, no other King averages more than 10. Cousins began the night ranked fifth in the NBA at 11.5 rebounds per game.
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