Sacramento, CA -- They're a few first year head coaches in the NBA still trying to figure out ways to win. On paper they look like a dream team, six veteran All-Stars on the roster yet they've only won two games. The Brooklyn Nets lost their fourth road game and the Sacramento Kings just snapped their five-game losing streak.
Head coach Michael Malone had enough of losing and decided to make some drastic changes to his starting lineup that proved successful after the Kings beat the Nets 107-86. In fact, Sacramento played it's best basketball this season. The team shot 43.6 percent and only committed seven turnovers.
"I loved the defense," said Malone. "Tonight was the closest that we have come to playing a full 48 minutes. For us to win it has to start on the defensive end of the floor. When we defend, rebound, and share the ball, we're a decent basketball team."
Marcus Thornton came off the bench and exploded with a game-high 24 points on 4-for-9 shooting from 3-point range. Losing his staring spot to rookie Ben McLemore, Thornton scored 13 points in the second quarter, including three 3-pointers. He finished 10 of 19 from the floor. McLemore and Jason Thompson were part of the changes in the lineup and made their first start this season.
"It felt good coming in with the second team," Marcus said. "I came off the bench all last year, so it wasn't hard to adjust. I'm just trying to find myself now and get myself in a rhythm and I guess that was the best way to do it."
The recent changes in the lineup definitely sparked some positive things on both offense and defense. DeMarcus Cousins scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 22 minutes before he fouled out in the fourth quarter. Greivis Vasquez got off to a great start, running the offense, scoring 17 points and handing out 12 assists. Sacramento did a good job on setting screens and getting open shots.
"We played discipline ball and that was the difference in our game," Vasquez said. "I'm happy that we won but we still have a lot to prove. I was in a good rhythm out there and able to find a lot of guys."
Brooklyn on the other hand can't seem to figure out their troubles on the road. First year head coach Jason Kidd doesn't think it's time to hit the panic button but feels like his team will eventually realize their potential in time. The Nets started flat and finished flat. They couldn't find a basket from any spot on the court and shot just 31-for-82 for the night.
"It's unacceptable," said Kidd. "We don't score, we hang our heads and then they score on the other end."
"It's a winning system no doubt," Jason Terry said. "We look good on paper but now we need to step it up. Everyone on this team should feel like it's a desperate situation, defensively it's a problem for us. We didn't meet their intensity level tonight. We've done too much talking, now it's time for some action."
It was just yesterday the Kings felt the same frustration and anger from losing just as Brooklyn did after the game. Although, it's still early in the season, no one wants to be on a losing streak. Moving forward Sacramento will stay with their new lineup and work that much harder in climbing out of the hole they've already dug for themselves.