Many contributors directing Nets into clash with Kings

Field Level Media

The Brooklyn Nets hope to demonstrate on the road what they displayed at home when they tip off a five-game Western swing against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

The Nets had lost three in a row and fallen to 6-8 before beginning a home-heavy portion of their schedule with a surprisingly easy 112-97 win over the Miami Heat on Nov. 25.

Since then, they’ve been almost unbeatable, adding five more wins over six games to push their record well into the positive (12-9) as they embark on visits to Sacramento, Phoenix, Denver, Golden State and Utah.

Two keys to the Brooklyn surge have been tandem big men Day’Ron Sharpe and Nic Claxton, who have combined to average 19.7 points, 17.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks during the Nets’ 6-1 run.

Sharpe has shot 59.5 percent and Claxton 66 percent over those seven games.

“You know how (valuable) bigs are in the league,” Nets forward Mikal Bridges observed. “Having those guys anchor defensively helps so much to what we’re doing offensively and being dogs on our offensive boards and defensive boards, and then punishing mismatches.

“Them just doing what they’re doing, like just rolling hard, defending, rebounding, that’s always what we need.”

Bridges has averaged 25.4 points, Spencer Dinwiddie 17 and Cam Johnson 14.3 to lead the Brooklyn offense in the last seven games, six of which were at home.

Of course, facing Sacramento means having to deal with a dominant big man of its own in Domantas Sabonis. He contributed 17 points and 15 rebounds to a 123-117 home win over the Denver Nuggets a week ago Saturday, followed with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the New Orleans Pelicans in Monday’s 127-117 in-season tournament quarterfinal loss, and then 15 points and 17 rebounds in a 114-106 victory at Phoenix in the Kings’ most recent action Friday.

He averaged 20.5 points and 14.0 rebounds when the Kings swept the two-game season series from the Nets last year.

The Kings have gone just 4-4 in their last eight games as Sabonis has noticed opponents warming to Sacramento’s offensive schemes.

“It’s pretty hard to be the best offense in the history of the NBA two seasons in a row,” he noted. “We could’ve bet money after (last) season that this season wouldn’t be as good (offensively). We all shot the lights out. Everyone had career-highs in points, field goal percentage.

“Teams are ready for us (now). They’re scouting us. We knew that was going to happen. Now we just have to work on our counters.”

One counter in the win over the Suns was a combined 24 points from reserves Sasha Vezenkov and Keon Ellis. The Sacramento bench, which also included Malik Monk and Trey Lyles, combined to shoot 8-for-18 on 3-pointers, two more successes than the Sacramento starters and five more than Phoenix’s reserves.

The Nets will be getting their first look at Vezenkov in an NBA uniform. They drafted the Cyprus native in the second round in 2017.

He never signed with Brooklyn, and was subsequently traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Kings in 2022 for a second-round pick.

Field Level Media NBA,Brooklyn Nets,Sacramento Kings,Day’Ron Sharpe,Mikal Bridges

2023-12-11 03:00:27 , Yardbarker: Sacramento Kings

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