By Antonio Gonzalez
SACRAMENTO — Marcus Thornton scored a season-high 24 points after losing his starting spot to rookie Ben McLemore, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Brooklyn Nets 107-86 on Wednesday night.
Greivis Vasquez had 17 points and 12 assists, and Isaiah Thomas added 19 points, six assists and six rebounds to help the Kings blowout Brooklyn. Sacramento led by 18 points in the second quarter and 23 late in the third before holding off a brief rally in the fourth.
Brook Lopez had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Deron Williams finished with 13 points and seven assists as the Nets lost their third straight game.
After acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston this offseason, the championship pedigree has yet to blend in Brooklyn so far this fall. The Nets are 2-5 this season, including 0-4 on the road.
The Nets never sustained any kind of rhythm, even after DeMarcus Cousins picked up his fourth foul and was taken out early in the third quarter. They played slow and looked like aging veterans — especially against Sacramento’s young and athletic rotation — and were often embarrassed on both ends.
First-year Kings coach Michael Malone had challenged his players to play with more energy and intensity, and he shook up his lineup in hopes of sparking change. McLemore, the seventh overall pick out of Kansas, made his first start along with Jason Thompson — moving Thornton and Patrick Patterson to the bench.
The announced crowd of 15,122 roared when McLemore finished an alley-oop from Vasquez on a fast break in the first quarter, though the rookie struggled for most of the game. McLemore finished with two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Leave it to Thornton to turn in his best performance of the season. He scored 13 points in the second quarter, including three 3-pointers, and tossed a lob that Cousins dunked with one hand to give the Kings a 43-25 lead.
Thornton finished 10 of 19 from the floor. He also had four rebounds and two assists.
The Nets answered with 11 straight points, with Williams keying the spurt despite favoring his left ankle for a minute after slipping on teammate Andray Blatche. Cousins also was called for a technical foul — his second this season — after the Sacramento center shouted at official Joey Crawford.
The Kings closed the half leading 52-40, but they blew away Brooklyn after the break. Vasquez fed Patterson for a layup that put the Kings up 80-57 with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Williams’ floater sliced Sacramento’s lead to 84-72 early in the fourth. Then Jason Terry was called for a foul and a technical foul after elbowing Vasquez, part of a 16-8 run that gave the Kings a 100-80 lead to put the game out of reach.