SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Fed up and frustrated at the lack of effort and energy, Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone shook up his lineup hoping to find some kind of spark.
The move turned out to be exactly what his team needed.
Marcus Thornton scored a season-high 24 points after losing his starting spot to rookie Ben McLemore, and the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Brooklyn Nets 107-86 on Wednesday night.
"Marcus, I said to him after the game, 'Maybe I should've put you on the bench sooner,'" Malone said.
Greivis Vasquez had 17 points and 12 assists, and Isaiah Thomas added 19 points, six assists and six rebounds to help the Kings rout 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.
The Kings shot 43.6 percent and committed only seven turnovers. They also held the Nets to 37.8 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
"If I could've written a script for tonight," Malone said, "it would've played out just like it played out."
Nothing has gone according to plan for the Nets this season.
After acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston, the pair's championship pedigree has yet to blend in Brooklyn so far. The Nets have lost three straight to drop to 2-5 this season, including 0-4 on the road, with the latest performance perhaps the most perplexing.
"It's unacceptable," first-year Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "We don't score, we hang our heads and then they score on the other end."
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.
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. Brooklyn plays at Phoenix on Friday night before wrapping up the three-game road trip at the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
"I hope this was a wakeup call to start the trip," said Pierce, who had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Sacramento, a place where most NBA fans are still just happy to have a team after the Kings nearly moved to Seattle in May, finally showed some promise on the court for the first time since winning its season opener against Denver.