WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets, just like 90 percent of the teams in the NBA, can't win when their stars don't show up. So when Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, the league's fourth-highest scoring duo, accounted for a combined 17 points on 6-of-21 shooting, not even the heroics of Kris Humphries and Anthony Morrow were going to save them -- even if they were facing a Kings team that had lost six straight. Stagnant offense down the stretch once again proved to be the difference at New Jersey dropped to 4-8 overall, 1-2 on their four-game West Coast trip. Tyreke Evans had a game-high 20 points to lead the Kings (4-7).
TURNING POINT: With 1:35 remaining and the Nets down 80-78, Lopez headed to the line for a pair of free throws. He made the first, but missed the second. On the ensuing Kings possession, Lopez was unable to corral two rebounds. The first led to free throws for DeMarcus Cousins, and the second led to a pull-up 18-footer by Evans that put Sacramento ahead 83-79 with 59 seconds left. Travis Outlaw knocked down a jumper to bring New Jersey within two, but Beno Udrih answered for the Kings. His 3-pointer with one second on the 24-second shot clock and 3.2 seconds remaining put the game out of reach. Over the last 4 minutes, 37 seconds the Nets managed just one field goal, which came from Outlaw. They also scored just 35 second-half points.
STAR OF THE GAME: Actually, there were two: Humphries and Morrow. Humphries finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Morrow added 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting and was 4-of-4 from the free throw line. But they couldn't make up for the woes of Harris (eight assists to seven turnovers) and Lopez (seven points on 3-of-9 shooting).
FAVORS-COUSINS PART 2: There were flashes of brilliance, but ultimately Derrick Favors (No. 3 overall) and Cousins (No. 5 overall) just looked like rookies who have a lot to learn. In their second matchup facing one another, Cousins outscored Favors 8-3. Favors wowed the crowd with a two-handed rim rocker off a missed shot early, while Cousins displayed some nifty footwork in the post against Lopez late. Still, it'll be years before we figure which team made the right decision in the 2010 NBA Draft -- even if Cousins vehemently disagrees.
NINETY-FIVE THE KEY: The Nets are 4-0 when they score 95 or more points, but 0-8 when they finish with 94 points or less.
MORROW WATCH: Morrow came into Saturday night's game needing four 3-pointers to qualify as the NBA’s all-time rankings for 3-point accuracy. He made one. Morrow has now connected on 247 of 548 attempts from beyond the arc (.451 percent); Steve Kerr is the NBA's all-time leader (.454).
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION: Seeing Troy Murphy on the Nets' bench in a suit and tie for the second straight game wasn't surprising. Seeing Terrence Williams joining him in business attire, however, was. Williams was deactivated by Nets head coach Avery Johnson on Friday after playing six ineffective minutes on Wednesday against the Jazz.
Williams had missed the previous four games with an abdominal strain. Johnson told reporters before Friday's game that Williams was "not there" physically. However, when asked how he felt, Williams responded, "I'm not hurt no more." Rookie Ben Uzoh dressed in place of Williams.
UP NEXT: More Melo drama! The Nets wrap up their four-game west coast trip in Denver on Saturday night when they take on Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets. Anthony, of course, was reportedly close to being traded to New Jersey, but the deal never happened. Why?
Some say it was Anthony -- unenthusiastic about playing in the Garden State -- who nixed the move. And while it is uncertain as to which team will prevail, it is certain that Anthony will be asked questions on the subject , as will Favors, who would've been Denver bound.
It will be interesting to see if these two teams reengage in trade discussions as the season progresses. You would think the Nets still covet Anthony, who currently ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring (24.1 ppg) and is averaging a career-high 9.3 rebounds per contest, as he brings an explosive scoring element they don't currently have (New Jersey ranked last in the NBA in scoring as of Friday at 92.8 ppg). But it remains to be seen if they'd be willing to part with the 19-year-old Favors, who possesses all the potential in the world.
And of course there's still the question as to whether or not Anthony would sign a long-term extension with them, when by all accounts, he's enamored with the possibility of playing with his friend Amare Stoudamire in New York.