Newest Nets help end 11-game slide
Curry, Drummond contribute to Brooklyn's win over Kings
Ben Simmons is still waiting to make his Nets debut.
Seth Curry and Andre Drummond made an immediate impact in their first game in Brooklyn, pacing the Nets to a 109-85 rout of the Sacramento Kings to snap a season-high 11-game losing streak in front of 16,873 win-starved fans at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
Simmons, acquired along with Curry and Drummond in last week’s trade-deadline deal for James Harden, is still ramping up and learning to play with his new teammates in anticipation of the return of injured fellow superstar Kevin Durant.
The flashy but mercurial point guard hasn’t played since last May after requesting a trade out of Philadelphia due to mental health concerns.
“I think (Simmons is) in a pretty good place mentally,” Nash said before Brooklyn posted its first win since Jan. 21, when it held the best record in the Eastern Conference.
“And if we work with him here, in conjunction with his physical ramp-up, to make sure he’s comfortable on and off the floor, I think he’ll be ready to play mentally when he’s physically ready.”
Curry and Drummond had no such concerns.
The duo combined for 34 points and 16 rebounds on a night the Nets (30-27) were once again without Kyrie Irving, who is not eligible to play at Barclays due to New York City’s vaccination mandates.
Curry scored a team-high 23 points and Drummond added 11 points and nine boards as Brooklyn remained in the eighth spot in the ongoing playoff race.
“(Nash’s) message was very simple. Just play your game.” Drummond revealed.
“All the little details of plays and defensive schemes, you know, we’ll worry about that later when we’ve got time to practice, but today’s agenda was just to play as hard as we can and win a game.”
De’Aaron Fox put up a game-high 26 points and Davion Mitchell had 13 for the Kings (22-37), who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Bruce Brown played a spectacular all-round game, scoring 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with six assists, six rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots for Brooklyn, which will be back at it Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden against the arch rival New York Knicks.
“I was just getting the ball off the rim and pushing it,” Brown said. “I had shooters around me: Patty (Mills and) Seth now and when other guys come back, just space on the floor. I can just find angles, get to the rim or find them for catch-and-shoot 3s.”
Irving won’t be available to play Wednesday at the Garden, Durant is still mending from a knee sprain and Simmons isn’t likely to begin his career as a Net that soon.
But players like Curry, Drummond, Brown and Durant are all waiting to see how the new-look Nets perform with Simmons at the helm.
“I think we’ll be able to play really fast,” Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton intimated.
“Getting out in transition. We’ll definitely be able to switch a lot on defense, having a lot of length out there, have some good groups. And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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