At Arco Arena in Sacramento, the New Jersey Nets lost to the Sacramento Kings 86-81 on the third game of their western road trip. The Nets falls to 4-8 on the season while the Kings improve to 4-7 and snap their six-game losing streak.
On the year, the Nets are 4-0 when they score 95 or more points but are now 0-8 when scoring 94 points or less.
In their first matchup on October 29, the Nets came from behind late en route to a 106-100 win. The Nets shot 53 percent from the field, and Brook Lopez drained 29 points in the win.
The Nets looked good early on, especially Kris Humphries, who made his fifth consecutive start. He had only started eight games in his first six seasons. He recorded six points, including two powerful dunks, and three rebounds in the first five minutes.
New Jersey appeared ready to pull away, with the Kings heaving up wild shots. But six straight points from Carl Landry tied the game at 10. The Kings closed out the first with some great hustle plays by Samuel Dalembert and Tyreke Evans to take a 21-19 lead.
The Nets opened up the second quarter with some sloppy offensive play, with Devin Harris trying to do too much. Francisco Garcia provided some energy off the bench for Sacramento, and Ben Udrih hit some big shots.
However, the Nets caught fire late in the half and went on a 21-6 run. Humphries and Anthony Morrow each scored 12 points in the half to lead the Nets to a 46-43 score at the break. Morrow was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.
Travis Outlaw joined in by scoring the first five Nets points of the second half. But Tyreke Evans also began to heat up. Evans came into the game averaging 19.9 ppg on the season.
Harris and Lopez, who combined have been averaging 35.8 ppg, just could not get it going. In their place, though, Humphries battled all night on the glass while Morrow knocked in big shot after big shot.
Jordan Farmar closed out the third quarter with high energy plays, but the Kings kept answering back. Neither team pulled away in this quarter, with the score 64-63 in favor of the Kings heading to the fourth.
The Kings capitalized on some New Jersey mistakes to take a four point lead early in the fourth. But the Nets were able to battle back with a few clutch baskets from Farmar, Outlaw and Humphries to tie the game at 76 with just under five minutes to go.
More back and forth play ensued, but inconsistent play from Harris and Lopez allowed the Kings to take the lead. The Nets cut it to within two when Outlaw hit a clutch shot.
Avery Johnson opted not to foul with 27.9 seconds remaining. The Nets looked like they might get the defensive stop, but Udrih hit a huge three pointer that just beat the shot clock and sealed the win for the Kings.
Humphries recorded another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Morrow had 17 and Outlaw 13, so hopefully they can continue these strong efforts moving forward.
Evans led all scorers with 20 points on the night.
The Nets conclude their road trip Saturday night against Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets.