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Domantas Sabonis, De’Aaron lead Kings in 107-77 rout of shorthanded Nets

The Nets needed a 19-point comeback to overcome the lowly Detroit Pistons Saturday night. Short-handed, playing without Nic Claxton, Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dennis Smith Jr. on Sunday, there would be no such rally in Sunday’s 107-77 loss to the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center.

It was never a close game after the opening minutes of regulation. Brooklyn trailed by 10 points after one quarter and was down 25 points by halftime. It was able to trim Sacramento’s advantage to 14 points by the end of the third quarter, but three quick turnovers by Cam Thomas, Trendon Watford and Lonnie Walker IV pushed the Kings’ lead back to 20 and Mike Brown‘s team never looked back, closing the game on a 21-11 run.

Thirty-three points proved to be the Nets’ largest deficit Sunday night. They committed 17 turnovers, which led to 22 points for Sacramento. They were also outrebounded 54-46, outscored 26-7 in transition, and the Kings’ reserves bested Brooklyn’s depleted bench 42-26.

The Nets’ 77 points scored set a new season low and tied for the third fewest scored by an NBA team this season.

“Man, I think they’ve just been together for so long,” Mikal Bridges said of the Kings. “You know they’ll have rough times, but they’ll figure it out; they play multiple minutes in games together. So, you know, they’ll just always figure it out. You’ve got guys like De’Aaron and Sabonis, you’ll figure it out.”

The Nets fell to 31-48 with the loss. And even though they have already been eliminated from postseason consideration, they have still won five of their last eight games.

“We have three games left, so we just have to get better every game, individually and as a team,” Watford said. “Got a big win yesterday, got a big win against the Pacers. So I think we’re just trying to get as many wins as we can and try to get better collectively and individually. So I think that’s one of the biggest things we can take away from these next three games.”

Rookie center Noah Clowney had been on a tear over his last two appearances entering the night, which earned him his first career start against Sacramento. His latest “welcome to the NBA” moment was a trial by fire against Kings forward Domantas Sabonis, and Sabonis dominated the matchup, finishing with 18 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists.

Clowney scored just seven points after reaching double figures in each of his last two games entering the night but did haul in a team-high 10 rebounds. He had just eight attempts overall, none of which were from behind the arc.

Dennis Schroder, who had not missed a game since dawning a Nets uniform, was listed as questionable entering the night because of right Achilles tendinitis but was later upgraded to available.

Perhaps he was not 100 percent healthy. Or maybe it was just one of those nights. Either way, the German point guard struggled against Sacramento, going 1-of-12 from the field in 30 minutes of action. However, he did chip in seven rebounds and six assists.

“It was just an off night,” Watford said of Schroder. “He still helped out on the defensive end.”

Thomas finished with a game-high 21 points but did it on an 8-of-18 clip. De’Aaron Fox shook off a slow start and wound up leading the Kings with 20 points.

Brooklyn’s final three regular-season games are against the Raptors on Wednesday, the Knicks on Friday and 76ers on Sunday.

Wednesday is the team’s final home game of the season.

“You know how tough it was this season,” Bridges said. “We want to at least send the fans off with a win.”