Brooklyn Nets: Three Takeaways from the Win over the Sacramento Kings
The Brooklyn Nets entered Tuesday night’s game on a six game winning streak. The Sacramento Kings entered the game on a seven game losing streak, including a loss to the Nets in their home building last week. When the Nets got out to a 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter, behind a sensational opening quarter by Kyrie Irving, this game looked like it might end up being more of the same.
However, the Kings outscored the Nets in the second and third quarter to get back into it. The game looked like a blowout early, but it turned into a tightly contested game. The Kings actually took their first lead of the game with less than a minute to go in the third quarter.
The Brooklyn Nets managed to put together a run late in the fourth quarter to pull away, as they wound up taking this one by a 127-118 margin. James Harden put the team on his back with yet another triple-double, and the Nets managed to come out on top after struggling in the middle portion of the game. Here are three takeaways from Tuesday night at Barclay’s Center.
Kyrie Irving’s Tale of Two Halves
Kyrie Irving started this game in much the same way that he started their previous game against the Sacramento Kings. He scored the first five points of the game, and finished the first quarter with 14 points. He poured in a few triples and added three assists in the quarter, and was also responsible for the pass that got Nic Claxton to the free throw line for his first points of the season.
The rest of the game, however? Not so good. It was a tale of two halves for Irving, as he did not score in the second half until some free throws with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter. Kyrie finished with 21 points on 22 shots. His cold second half was a huge factor in the Kings getting back into this game. It is certainly a good sign that the Nets were able to take this one despite Kyrie’s rough second half. Then again, the Brooklyn Nets might not have needed a fourth-quarter hot streak to win this one if Irving had maintained his first quarter performance.
Kyrie Irving started out hot but finished cold. James Harden had another spectacular night to continue his stellar run in Brooklyn.
However, this night and this game belonged to Bruce Brown. Kyrie Irving scored the first five points of the game but Bruce Brown scored the next four. He stayed much hotter than Kyrie, and ended up with a career-high 29 points. Brown went on a personal 7-1 run late in the fourth to put this game away, and was relentless around the basket all night long:
With Kevin Durant still on the bench and Kyrie cooling off after the first quarter, the Brooklyn Nets really needed someone outside of their Big Three to have a big night. In a game that the Nets could have easily blown in the second half, Bruce Brown delivered a win.
Nic Claxton’s Brooklyn Nets Season Debut
The Brooklyn Nets have struggled to put together a center rotation all season long. That problem became slightly less dire on Tuesday night, as Nic Claxton made his season debut for the Nets.
The box score line was not all that impressive for Claxton. He finished the night with five points, an assist, a rebound, and a block in 14 minutes. However, the key for Claxton was on the defensive end. The Brooklyn Nets have been desperate for big men who can switch on defense, and Claxton was solid on that front tonight. Any big man who can credibly hang with the fastest player in the league (De’Aaron Fox) on a switch is a huge bonus, but especially for this Nets’ squad.
Claxton will probably be a 15-ish minute-a-night player for the rest of the season as well. His defensive prowess in this game was very encouraging, even if he was mostly invisible on the other end. Nic Claxton’s name won’t jump out of the box score tonight. However, Steve Nash and the Brooklyn Nets’ staff should be quite pleased with his performance in this one.