A win would tie the Nets' season-high of seven consecutive home wins, and they're looking to earn a season-split with the Kings, after Brooklyn lost in Sacramento 107-86 back on November 13. However, the Nets are a different team today than they were in that previous matchup, and a recent trade with these Kings is a factor in that.
In that blowout loss in Sacramento early in the season, Marcus Thornton scored a game-high 24 points off the bench for the Kings. The young shooting guard has had a roller-coaster season of highs and lows, leading to a trade to the Nets a few weeks ago. In his short time in Brooklyn, the Nets have seen him catch fire and go ice cold.
For a 22-40 team, the Kings pack a powerful punch offensively. They feature a trio of 20-point scorers, but their biggest weapon, literally and figuratively, is DeMarcus Cousins.
The 6'11, 270-lb Cousins leads the Kings with 22.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, 10th and fifth in the NBA in those respective categories.
Key Matchup: Cousins, who signed a max contract with Sacramento in September, has become a major force in the middle, and with Kevin Garnett unlikely to play tonight, keeping Cousins in check becomes that much tougher for Brooklyn.
Mason Plumlee and Andray Blatche will have a lot on their plate dealing with Cousins inside. At times in the past, the Nets would turn to Reggie Evans to bring a physical presence against opposing centers like Cousins. Now, Evans is Cousins' teammate, having come over in the Thornton trade, and Jason Collins will have to fill that role.
Player to Watch: All eyes will be on Thornton, who I'm sure would love nothing more than to show his former team what they're missing. The 26-year-old will try to bounce back from his roughest outing in a Nets uniform, and they need his offensive spark.