Kings-Nets Preview


After a lack of offense and rebounding spelled the end of their winning streak, the Brooklyn Nets appear to have a decent chance to regroup back on their home floor.

The Sacramento Kings look for their first season sweep of this series since 2007-08, but they'll be facing a much different Brooklyn team than the one they beat back in November.

The Nets will try to match a season high with their seventh straight home win - and 14th in 16 games at Barclays Center - on Sunday night.

After averaging 104.5 points over a four-game winning streak, the Nets (30-30) had their worst shooting night since the All-Star break at 36.3 percent and missed 26 of 30 from 3-point range in a 91-84 loss at Boston on Friday.

Joe Johnson finished with 21 points and Deron Williams added 20, but Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston and Marcus Thornton combined to score 17 on 5-of-26 shooting as Brooklyn fell to 1-16 when it fails to shoot at least 41.0 percent.

"We always have room for improvement and this is just another sign that we have to keep working, keep grinding, and understand that we can't take anybody lightly," coach Jason Kidd told the league's official website.

Thornton hopes to bounce back as he faces the Kings (22-40) for the first time since they traded him to Brooklyn for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans on Feb. 19. The streaky guard had 24 points to lead Sacramento to a 107-86 home win over the Nets on Nov. 13.

Though Terry has not joined the Kings because of an injured knee, Evans has given them a boost with 9.3 rebounds per game in his last three.

After getting outrebounded 51-28 on Friday, the Nets rank 29th in the league with a minus-4.5 rebounding margin. That could be an area of concern against a Sacramento team that ranks in the top 10 with a plus-2.3 margin, especially if leading rebounder Kevin Garnett is unable to return after missing the last four games due to back spasms.

Brooklyn was just about at full strength for the first meeting with the Kings, but that came during a disappointing 5-14 start as the Nets allowed an average of 103.4 points. They've given up 95.5 per game while going an Eastern Conference-best 20-9 since Jan. 1.

The Kings, 9-21 on the road, topped NBA-worst Milwaukee 116-102 in the opener of a seven-game trip Wednesday before falling 99-87 at Toronto on Friday.

DeMarcus Cousins finished with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Rudy Gay scored 15 in his first game in Toronto since a seven-player deal that sent him to Sacramento on Dec. 9.

The Kings shot 41.7 percent from the field and 5 for 19 from 3-point range, leaving them 10 for 40 (25.0 percent) from that distance in their last three games.

"I am very disappointed with the effort and we are nowhere near good enough to come into a playoff team's house and think we can go through the motions and try to turn it on when we want to," coach Michael Malone said.

Cousins has scored 20 or more in four straight since serving a one-game suspension Feb. 28 for throwing a punch at Houston's Patrick Beverley. He had 28 points and 11 rebounds in a 113-93 loss in the most recent meeting in Brooklyn on Jan. 5, 2013.

Sacramento has dropped four straight on the road in the series.

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