Ex-Cats

DeMarcus Cousins’ triple-double for Kings not enough against Nets

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drove past Nets guard Wayne Ellington during the first half on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in New York.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drove past Nets guard Wayne Ellington during the first half on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in New York. Associated Press

Joe Johnson and the Nets kept pouring it on in their best performance of the season, though the Kings’ problems went beyond their defense.

DeMarcus Cousins just wouldn’t say what — or who — they were.

“I’d rather keep it in house, but we definitely have a bigger issue than just energy and effort,” the former University of Kentucky star said. “That can’t be the excuse every night.”

Johnson had season highs with 27 points and 11 assists in Brooklyn’s 128-119 victory on Friday night. The Nets set season bests for points and three-pointers while snapping a five-game losing streak.

“It feels great to get a win, to see everything clicking on all cylinders,” Johnson said.

Reserve Bojan Bogdanovic made seven of their 18 three-pointers, while Johnson added five and Donald Sloan made four.

Brooklyn was 18-for-28 (64.3 percent) from behind the arc and shot 55.8 percent overall.

Brook Lopez added 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, while Bogdanovic scored 23 points.

“Early in the game, first quarter, Joe got hot, I hit two or three threes, then we got our confidence and started to run the floor and share the ball well,” Bogdanovic said. “It was easy at the end for us.”

Cousins had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Kings were inept defensively in their sixth loss in seven games. Darren Collison scored 25 points and ex-Cat Rajon Rondo chipped in 15 points and 15 assists.

“I’m not going to keep blaming these guys in the locker room,” Cousins said. “Energy and effort, that’s a huge part of the game, but I’m not going to keep blaming it on them. We’ve got a bigger issue and we need to figure it out as a team.”

Rondo said it was “selfish team defense,” putting the blame on the players.

“It has nothing to do with the coaches, it’s about us,” he said. “We don’t sacrifice enough to do what it takes to win consecutive games.”

Taking advantage of an easier matchup after the Kings lost forward Rudy Gay to a left ankle injury just minutes into the game, Johnson scored 20 in the first half to spark the Nets, who were averaging just 95.6 points entering the game.

They blew by that so easily that their 103 points were the most they had scored through three quarters since getting 105 against Seattle on Nov. 11, 2000.

Bogdanovic took over from there, hitting 3-pointers every time the Kings tried to gain any momentum in the final period.

“Shooters get going and in a lot of ways we never got a defensively mentality in the game,” Kings Coach George Karl said. “We tried to do a shootout mentality and just, we sit here very empty right now.”

The Nets beat the Kings for the seventh straight time at home, dating to when they played in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Sacramento is the only NBA team that hasn’t won at Barclays Center, which opened in 2012.

Rondo and Collison combined to make their first nine shots through 1 1/2 quarters, but the Nets surged into the lead with a 36-point second quarter. They bettered that with 38 in the third, making 65 percent of their shots and building a 22-point lead.

HE'S GOT SKILLS

Cousins is entered in the Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend, an event that combines dribbling, passing and shooting, and is usually made up of guards. Half the eight-player field this year is big men, and Rondo was asked about his teammate’s chances.

“He has to be humble. He thinks he’s a point guard and he thinks what we do is very easy,” Rondo said. “Try to humble the guy, that’s what I’m working on with him.”

ROOKIE READY?

The Nets took McCullough with the No. 29 pick even though he was limited to just 16 games in his lone season at Syracuse before tearing his right ACL on Jan. 11, 2015. Interim coach Tony Brown said he’s pleased with what the 6-foot-9 forward has done so far.

NETS 128, KINGS 119

Sacramento

MIN

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

F

Pt

Gay

3:54

1-2

0-0

0-1

1

2

2

Cousins

39:44

9-18

2-3

0-10

10

2

24

Cauley-Stein

28:53

7-8

2-2

2-6

0

3

16

Rondo

34:48

7-15

0-0

0-1

15

3

15

Belinelli

34:38

5-12

3-3

0-0

1

1

13

Casspi

27:41

3-10

0-0

0-4

0

0

7

Koufos

12:08

2-3

0-0

2-3

0

1

4

McLemore

11:31

0-4

5-5

0-0

2

3

5

Collison

25:22

7-9

9-9

1-3

1

2

25

Acy

6:08

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Anderson

15:13

4-8

0-0

0-3

0

2

8

Totals

240:00

45-89

21-22

5-31

30

19

119

Percentages: FG .506, FT .955.

Three-Point Goals: 8-26, .308 (Cousins 4-4, Collison 2-3, Rondo 1-4, Casspi 1-7, Gay 0-1, McLemore 0-1, Anderson 0-2, Belinelli 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 5.

Team Turnovers: 11 (12 PTS).

Blocked Shots: 3 (Acy, Anderson, Cauley-Stein).

Turnovers: 11 (Cousins 3, Cauley-Stein 2, Collison 2, Rondo 2, Anderson, Gay).

Steals: 15 (Casspi 3, Rondo 3, Belinelli 2, Collison 2, Cousins 2, Cauley-Stein, Koufos, McLemore).

Technical Fouls: Acy, 10:10 second.

Brooklyn

MIN

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

F

Pt

Johnson

36:55

11-16

0-0

1-6

11

0

27

Young

38:34

6-10

2-2

1-14

7

1

14

Lopez

40:51

11-21

4-4

7-12

3

3

26

Sloan

30:43

6-10

1-1

0-4

1

2

17

Ellington

26:07

2-10

5-5

0-2

3

1

10

Bogdanovic

27:28

8-10

0-0

1-4

1

4

23

Larkin

17:25

1-3

0-0

0-1

2

4

3

Bargnani

10:06

2-5

0-0

1-1

0

0

4

Robinson

6:21

0-0

1-2

0-2

0

2

1

Brown

5:30

1-1

1-1

0-0

1

3

3

Totals

240:00

48-86

14-15

11-46

29

20

128

Percentages: FG .558, FT .933.

Three-Point Goals: 18-28, .643 (Bogdanovic 7-9, Johnson 5-7, Sloan 4-5, Larkin 1-1, Ellington 1-6).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Team Turnovers: 22 (26 PTS).

Blocked Shots: 4 (Bargnani, Johnson, Lopez, Robinson).

Turnovers: 21 (Johnson 6, Larkin 3, Lopez 3, Sloan 3, Young 3, Bogdanovic 2, Brown).

Steals: 5 (Johnson 2, Young 2, Larkin).

Sacramento

25

36

24

34

119

Brooklyn

33

32

38

25

128

Att.—14,432 (17,732). T—2:14.

Officials—Sean Wright, Brent Barnaky, Haywoode Workman.

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