The Nets hit a franchise-record 27 three-pointers and got a 40-point game from Kyrie Irving in a 136-125 victory over the Kings on Monday night at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
The key to the game was a 20-0 run in the third quarter that gave the Nets a 22-point lead. They began the fourth quarter with a 25-12 run that included eight points by Jeff Green to build a 128-100 lead.
The three-pointer by Green that ended that run was the Nets' 26th of the game, setting a franchise record. They ultimately shot 27-for-47 from three-point range (57.4%), which left them third in NBA history from three-point range in a game.
Irving led seven double-digit scorers for the Nets (17-12) and shot 15-for-22. James Harden had a triple-double with 29 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds and the Nets shot 57.3% overall (51-for-89).
The Kings (12-15) were led by Hassan Whiteside, who came off the bench to score 26 points, pull down 16 rebounds and block five shots. Cory Joseph added 22 points and Buddy Hield totaled 21.
"It felt good just swinging the basketball to one another," Irving said on his postgame TV interview.
At that point, center DeAndre Jordan walked past and shouted "Shooting guard!" That was a reference to Irving’s recent admission that he told Harden to be the point guard while he would be the shooting guard.
"We want to let the defense lead to our offensive capabilities," Irving said. "I feel like we did that tonight."
Asked if he and Irving "crossed a bridge" when Irving told Harden he was the point guard, Harden said, "I don’t know if we necessarily crossed a bridge. That’s how the game was just going. That’s how he saw it, I saw it. I think for both of us, we have no problem with it. At the end of the day, we’re both playmakers and we’re both scorers.
"At any point, we both can get hot and get it going, and we’re also unselfish, so we can make plays for our team. Obviously, now that I’m getting familiar with Ky a little bit more, I know his spots and where he likes the ball and we just let him go and be free and do what he does at a high level because he’s one of the best that this game has ever seen doing that."
Kevin Durant was sidelined by a hamstring injury, but Jordan returned from a one-game absence for family-related matters. "We’re excited to have him back," coach Steve Nash said. "We missed him, and he’ll be ready to go tonight."
In his previous game, Jordan was the catalyst for the Nets’ best defensive performance of the season against the Pacers, but Nash apparently wasn’t excited enough to return Jordan to the starting lineup. He went with a small-ball lineup with Green at center alongside guards Irving, Harden, Joe Harris and Bruce Brown.
The Kings were without starting center Richaun Holmes. The result was predictable with a Kings team that plays at a fast pace with point guard De’Aaron Fox. They led 37-36 at the end of the first quarter.
Midway through the second period, the Nets put together a 12-3 surge that included five points from a rejuvenated Landry Shamet to take a 58-49 lead. But that lead shrank to 74-68 in the Nets' second-highest-scoring first half of the season.
Irving and Harden totaled 41 of the Nets’ first-half points, and the shooting percentages for both teams were off the charts. The Nets shot 60.9% overall and 66.7% from three-point range with a franchise-record 14 three-pointers on 21 attempts in the first half. The Kings shot 52.0% overall and 42.1% from three-point range (8-for-19).
During the third quarter, the Nets finally got a series of stops, causing the Kings to shoot 0-for-6 and forcing three turnovers. It lead to a 20-0 run that included eight points from Irving and six from Harris for a 102-80 lead.
This was Harden’s fifth triple-double in 15 games with the Nets. "I just try to play the game the right way," he said. "I don’t really pay attention to the stats. I just know coming in from the trade that in rebounding, we weren’t the best. My mindset was, as a guard, to try to be a really good rebounder."
Notes & quotes: The Nets cut Norvel Pelle and reportedly added free-agent wing Andre Roberson, who is married to the sister of Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Roberson is a top-flight defender but has been out of the NBA since the 2017-18 season.