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Reserves help Nets beat Kings

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The New Jersey Nets are taking things however they come.

So it made no difference that reserves scored more than half their points during a 99-90 victory over the Sacrament Kings Sunday evening in front of a crowd 11,965 at the Sleep Train Arena..

It was the fifth straight victory for the Nets, who opened a quick three-games-in-four-nights West Coast trip by keeping the Kings down. New Jersey (6-2) coach Avery Johnson used 11 players, and, by production alone, you couldn't tell the starters from the reserves. Bench players scored 52 of the team's points Sunday.

"Our bench really helped us," Johnson said, "especially in the first half when you look at what C.J. (Watson) and (Andray) Blatche did. Then MarShon (Brooks) comes on strong in the second half for us making some really good plays."

Kings coach Keith Smart's squad has been struggling so much that he at least had to concede his team put forth a strong effort.

"You know," he said, "with all things sincere, I thought we played a decent game. Defensively, I thought we did a great job at holding two of their top guys to a tough shooting night. Then we had moments."

The Kings have spent the first quarters of nearly every game falling behind and then spending the rest of the contest in catch-up mode. They opened this one much more competitively and held an eight-point lead early.

Blatche, a free-agent signee, came into the game and made his first 10 field-goal attempts. He made jumpers, put-backs and runners to dazzle all Kings' defenders.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last NBA player to make 10 or more consecutive field goals in a game was then-Lakers center Andrew Bynum (12) on March 18, 2010, against Utah.

Blatche made 11 of 12 shots overall to score a team-leading 22 points in just 19 minutes.

The Nets used a 10-0 run late in the second quarter to pull away from the Kings for a 54-42 halftime lead.

"That final 2:29," Smart said. "We had to close the quarter out and we gave up a lot of points there. There were little things. But I thought we tried to compete against this team."

The defeat was Sacramento's fifth straight overall and fourth straight home loss.

The Kings (2-8) fell behind late in the second quarter and never could handle the Nets strength off the bench.

Watson and Brooks scored 13 and 14 points, respectively, off the bench for the Nets. That balanced out the relatively low scoring nights for the Nets backcourt starters, Joe Johnson (10) and Deron Williams (14).

Williams struggled with minor injuries to his right forearm and right calf during the contest. Johnson made just one of 10 field-goal attempts but made eight of nine free-throws.

The Kings fell behind by as many as 12 in the third quarter, but climbed within 76-74 with 9:20 left in the contest. Marcus Thornton provided the impetus with back-to-back three pointers in the opening moments of the fourth.

However, the Kings self-destructed by shooting just 46 percent (6 of 13) from the free-throw line and committing four turnovers in the fourth quarter.

Brooks, meanwhile, scored nine of his points in the fourth. Johnson made all eight of his free-throws to support the scoring effort.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 29 points to lead all scorers, but they were not enough for the Kings.

Notes: Nets small forward Gerald Wallace was drafted (25th overall) by the Kings in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft. Wallace returned to action Sunday afternoon after missing the previous five games with a sprained left ankle. ... The Kings changed their starting lineup two days after one of the earliest post-game team meetings in league history. Smart opened with a veteran lineup of Cousins, Jason Thompson, John Salmons, Tyreke Evans and Aaron Brooks. Normal starting point guard Isaiah Thomas did not play in the first half.... The Kings reserves outscored their counterparts in seven of their first nine games.
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