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Nets get big effort from bench, beat Kings for third straight

Associated Press

1/5/2013 10:14:13 PM

NEW YORK -- After a long night and a short turnaround, the Brooklyn Nets' starters needed help Saturday.

MarShon Brooks, Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic provided enough to wrap this one up by halftime.

Brook Lopez scored 18 points in 17 minutes to lead six players in double figures, and the Nets got a nice effort from their reserves in beating the Sacramento Kings 113-93 for their third straight victory.

Less than 24 hours after needing two overtimes to escape with a 115-113 victory in Washington, the Nets made sure the starters weren't too taxed. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson both scored 15 points, but neither had to play even 30 minutes.

"I think the starters played the last three, four games, really exhausted from playing so many minutes," Teletovic said. "And I think it was very, very important for me, once I got on the bench and Deron talked to me and Gerald Wallace talked to me and (Jerry) Stackhouse talked to me, just said, 'Guys, once you get out there, we really need a lot of energy from you."'

Brooks and Blatche each scored 15 points and Teletovic had a career-best 14 as the Nets scored a season-high 65 points in the first half and improved to 5-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.

DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who had won four of five overall and two straight on the road but were defenceless in the finale of their four-game trip.

"We gave up in the half 67 per cent shooting and 65 points. We didn't have the energy for this game tonight," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Obviously, you could see we shot 40 per cent. We didn't have the legs and didn't have the energy in this game."

The Nets got a huge lift from their reserves in the first meeting this season, when Blatche came off the bench to make his first 10 shots. This time, the production was spread among three players.

The Nets made 10 of their first 13 shots and finished 15 of 21 (71 per cent) in the first quarter, but led only 36-31 after John Salmons scored 13 points. The Nets then opened it up in the second while the starters watched.

Teletovic, an NBA rookie who spent most of his pro career in Spain, made a jumper and had seven more points in a 15-2 run that turned a three-point edge into a 51-35 lead midway through the period. Brooks made three straight Nets baskets at one point in the quarter, mostly tough looks where he was well-defended or the shot clock was running down.

"They really were the ones who broke the game open, because most of the first quarter we were just trading baskets, we weren't stopping them at all," Carlesimo said. "We were really good offensively but we weren't defending anybody and the bench group in the second quarter just blew it open with a great defensive effort."

It was 65-47 at the break after the Nets made 27 of 40 shots (67.5 per cent). Brooks, who was getting inconsistent minutes under Avery Johnson, was one point off his season high and said he is regaining his confidence after shooting 56 per cent in the last five games.

"Absolutely. I'm not looking over my shoulder. I'm just going out there and having fun," he said. "That's kind of the way I play."

The Kings were hoping for three consecutive road wins for the first time since March 23-27, 2011, but had little bright spots beyond another strong game from Cousins.

"I just feel like the energy wasn't there from the beginning. It hurt us once again," Cousins said. "I can say for myself, I started off sluggish. When we start off games like that, especially against good teams like that, we're going to have a hard time."

Cousins had a season-high 31 points and career high-tying 20 rebounds Friday in a victory at Toronto. He missed a game last month when he was suspended by the Kings for unprofessional behaviour and conduct detrimental to the team but had been on a tear lately, averaging 19.4 points, 14.0 boards and 5.4 assists in the last five games.

Smart, who said both sides have moved past their problems, said Cousins was doing a much better job trusting his teammates and was the obvious key to Sacramento's recent success.

"I think maybe, maybe, he's turned the corner in realizing that if you want to be a star in this league, all the stars allow the other teammates to play and they make them better," Smart said before the game.

Cousins tried to keep the Kings in it, making all five shots in the third period and scoring 12 points, but all that could do was trim the 23-point lead the Nets had early in the quarter down to 16. Blatche had the first two baskets of the fourth to push the lead back to 20 and the Nets cruised from there.

Reggie Evans grabbed 12 rebounds and Blatche had 11 for the Nets.

NOTES: Injured guard Tyreke Evans has rejoined the Kings and is expected to start playing again on their five-game homestand. A second opinion on his sore left knee supported the Kings' treatment and rehabilitation regimen. Evans has missed 13 of the last 17 games. ... Brooklyn's previous best was 64 points in the first half against Cleveland on Nov. 13. ... Saturday was the one-year anniversary of Smart being named the Kings head coach.