Kyrie sits again, Nets buried by Kings
Second-quarter collapse proves fatal in Sacramento
Suspended guard Kyrie Irving is still working his way back into the Brooklyn Nets’ good graces.
As for the rest of the team, they appeared to take the night off as well in Sacramento.
Waiting for Irving’s return following his now-infamous suspension for the “harmful impact of his conduct” in posting a link to an antisemitic documentary seemed to be going fine as Brooklyn won four of its first six games in his absence.
The Nets appeared to miss Irving more in California’s capital city Tuesday, getting outscored 29-4 during a second-quarter stretch that resulted in Brooklyn’s second straight loss, a record-setting 153-121 drubbing at the hands of the Kings in front of 17,611 fans at the Golden 1 Center.
“Give (the Kings) credit, they basically kicked our butts,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn lamented. “I was a part of it, they were a part of it. We’ll just have to see how we respond.”
Irving, who has yet to fulfill the team-imposed requirements for his return, might not have made a difference on a night the Nets (6-9) rallied back from an early 13-point deficit only to be smoked, 37-24, in the second quarter after knotting the contest at 40-40.
Brooklyn pulled even at the 8:55 mark of the second quarter on Seth Curry’s 3-pointer, but Sacramento (7-6) reeled off the next 16 points en route to putting up the most points the Nets have ever allowed in regulation.
“That run kind of propelled them to hold on for the rest of the game. We gotta eliminate those runs,” Vaughn insisted.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Edmond Summer, starting in place of Irving, added 18 for Brooklyn, which allowed the Kings to shoot a blistering 60 percent from the field, including 49 percent from 3-point range.
“It’s tough. Just gotta give Sacramento credit,” Durant ceded. “They played a great game. That’s demoralizing when you see a team hitting shots like that. I wouldn’t say it was a lack of effort.”
Terence Davis poured in a game-high 31 points and Kevin Huerter finished with 19 for Sacramento, which had seven players score in double figures.
Brooklyn had gone 4-1 during a five-game stretch in which it permitted 100 points or fewer. But the Nets yielded 116 during a loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday and were porous defensively throughout against the Kings.
“I don’t know if our minds and bodies and souls were still in L.A,” Vaughn said.
Ben Simmons missed the game in L.A. with a sore left knee that forced him out of four games last week. The versatile playmaker, who missed all of last season with mental-health issues and a herniated disk, had a Nets career-best 11 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
“It’s stuff that we expect out of him. It’s not surprising,” Durant said of Simmons, who appeared to be more aggressive in attacking the paint.
“I’m bruised up but I’m good,” Simmons added. “It takes time to build. I’m going to get better and better.”
Cam Thomas scored 12 points and Yuta Watanabe added 11 for Brooklyn, which will close out this four-game road trip Thursday night in Portland.
“Everybody should be fresh in Portland. Let’s see if we can get a win there,” Vaughn pondered.
NOTHING BUT NET: Durant has scored at least 25 points in each of the team’s first 15 games, extending his franchise record and moving within one of Michael Jordan (1988-89) for the third-longest run in NBA history. … Vaughn indicated that both general manager Sean Marks and the league are in constant contact with Irving in regard to his suspension requirements. ”(Marks) tells me when he has an update, he’ll let me know,” Vaughn said. … After visiting Portland, the Nets will be back in Brooklyn Sunday night to host Memphis.
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