Kings almost lose big lead, hold on to beat Nets
NEW YORK — After the Sacramento Kings exhaled, they celebrated a milestone for Zach Randolph.
Randolph scored 21 points and became the 39th player in NBA history to get 10,000 career rebounds Wednesday night as Sacramento nearly blew a 21-point lead and held on for a 104-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
“Congratulations to him, we just had a celebration there. He got his 10,000th rebound and early in the game,” Sacramento coach Dave Joerger said. “And that was terrific.”
Needing one rebound to reach the milestone, Randolph achieved it a little over a minute into Sacramento’s league-leading 20th road game. When Randolph grabbed the rebound, he also became the 20th player to get at least 18,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.
“It felt good because I dedicated myself always,” said Randolph, whose career rebounding average is 9.2. “I thought I was one of the best rebounders in the league. So, I really am proud about that.”
It also was the second milestone this month for Randolph, who shot 8 of 11 and finished with eight rebounds. On Dec. 2 at Milwaukee, the 36-year-old forward became the 11th active player to score his 18,000th point.
“Rebounding is an art,” Randolph said. “I tell the young guys, it’s not about who jumps the highest and how strong you are. Rebounding is about positioning and having a knack for the ball and reading where the ball will come off or have a sense where the ball is going to bounce to. So, it’s a combination of things.”
George Hill led the Kings with 22 points after missing Tuesday’s comeback win in Philadelphia with an illness. Rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic added 14 while Willie-Cauley Stein contributed 13 as the Kings (11-20) won for the first time in six tries on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Kings also improved to 5-4 in their last nine road games after dropping eight straight road contests.
Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 16 points while DeMarre Carroll added 15 as Brooklyn (11-19) lost its fourth straight game by shooting 38.6 percent and 35.7 percent (15-of-42) from 3-point range.
Randolph’s milestone occurred when the Kings were at their best.
They made 16 of their first 21 shots to take a 16-point after the first quarter and held a 64-48 lead by halftime before the Nets gradually cut into the lead.
“They came out better than us in the first half,” Brooklyn guard Caris LeVert said. “They had more energy, more pop.”
The Kings held a 21-point lead early in the second quarter but the Nets gradually chipped into it getting their deficit to 86-75 going into the fourth and 97-95 with about five minutes left on a basket by Joe Harris.
Randolph hit a hook shot and made two free throws but Sacramento struggled to close it.
A three-point play by Dinwiddie cut the lead to 101-99 with 70 seconds remaining but the Nets could not tie it on their next possession as Allen Crabbe misfired on a 19-footer.
Following a missed a 3-pointer by Garrett Temple and a missed put-back by Cauley-Stein, the Nets missed two shots and Quincy Acy committed a turnover on a drive to the rim with 11.1 seconds left.
With 10.7 seconds remaining, Bogdanovic split a pair of free throws. The Nets called timeout and Dinwiddie missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left but Carroll grabbed the rebound and Brooklyn called its final timeout with 4.6 seconds left.
After the timeout, Joe Harris struggled to get the ball inbounds and when he did, Dinwiddie was unable to handle it and the ball went out of bounds. Sacramento finally finished the game when Hill hit two free throws with 2.8 seconds left.
“Obviously the second half shows we are capable of doing it and capable of getting stops,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. “But we let our guard down in the first quarter. Dug a hole, and too deep of a hole.”
NOTES: Sacramento rookie G De’Aaron Fox (right quadriceps contusion) sat out for the second time in three games. He was limited to 11 minutes before exiting Tuesday’s win at Philadelphia. ... Sacramento G Vince Carter, who was acquired by the Nets 13 years ago, did not play. Brooklyn’s 20 points in the first quarter were its lowest total in a home game. ... Nets C Jahlil Okafor was a DNP-CD for the sixth time since being obtained from Philadelphia on Dec. 9.