The New Jersey Nets fell to the Sacramento Kings 86-81 Friday night, due mostly to their turnovers and the many second-chance opportunities given to the Kings.
The Nets had 17 turnovers on the night, seven of them coming from Devin Harris who had his first truly bad game of the season.
Harris went just 3-of-12 for 10 points. He did have eight assists, but they were negated by his turnovers.
Brook Lopez struggled as well, scoring just seven points while going 3-for-9. He finally hit double-digits in rebounds with 10, but just as Harris' turnovers cancel out his assists, Lopez's inability to score greatly reduces his overall value in this game.
For the team, their recent turnover binge is discouraging given that they had been improving in that department prior to this road trip. More on that at the end of the week.
The other main factor in this loss was the Kings' offensive rebounding.
The Nets again failed to effectively box out, tonight allowing Sacramento to grab 18 offensive boards.
New Jersey has quietly been one of the better defensive teams in the NBA this year, and tonight they held the Kings to 43 percent shooting.
The defensive effort was undermined, however, by the repeated second chances the Nets allowed.
It's a very good sign that this team is getting after it on defense, but, by failing to properly and consistently box out opposing players, all that work goes to waste.
Anthony Morrow and Kris Humphries had good games, combing for 35 points on 77 percent shooting, with Humphries adding in 10 rebounds.
Of course, Morrow's nice game means Travis Outlaw had a bad one, 5-of-12 and 1-for-5 on threes for 13 points, as the two just cannot seem to play well at the same time.
I will look into this issue more deeply after tomorrow night's game. I want to see if this continues, but will explore the trend at greater length regardless.
Outlaw was also not the only player who struggled on his threes, as the team as a whole was 2-of-11 from beyond the arc.
It seems the three-point shooting that had been a strength for the team through the early part of this season has failed them in their last two games.
For Sacramento, Tyreke Evans led the way with 20 points, although it took him 21 shots to get those points as he was at 38 percent.
Carl Landry and Beno Udrih were also in double-figures with 15 and 12, respectively. Udrih hit a three in the final seconds that would essentially ice the game.
DeMarcus Cousins was their leading rebounder with 10.
The Nets will have to get over this loss quickly as they play Denver Saturday night.
It will be Carmelo Anthony's first game this season against the team he could end up playing for.