Sacramento Kings Top Denver Nuggets 106-98 To End 3-Game Losing Streak
Trey Lyles of the Denver Nuggets contains his teammate Jamal Murray after he reacts to a call by an NBA official at Golden 1 Center. The Sacramento Kings won the game 106-98. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Jan. 6, 2018.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings were off for three days since they last played a game. It was just enough time to recollect themselves and focus on stopping a three-game losing streak.
The Kings (13-25) beat the Denver Nuggets 106-98 at Golden 1 Center on Saturday night. Luckily for the Kings, the Nuggets were on the second night of a back-to-back and played like it.
Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger inserted a starting lineup of players with three years or less experience. Malachi Richardson, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, and De’Aaron Fox got the nod.
Power forward-center Zach Randolph was out for the second time this season for oral surgery and point guard George Hill was missing for personal reasons. The last three losses for the Kings, all at G1C, were to teams under .500 winning percentages.
The three-day break and veterans’ absence gave the young players plenty of room see what they are made of. From the youngsters’ perspective, it started with practice.
“For us, we had a great week of practice,” said Fox. “You practice how you play. It may sound cliche, but that’s really what happened today.”
Fox led the team with 18 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and one steal. Cauley-Stein added 17 points, seven steals, four rebounds, and two assists. Hield’s 14, Labissiere 12, and Richardson’s eight points concluded the scoring for the starting five, who led wire-to-wire for the victory.
Trey Lyles came off the bench for 19 points, nine rebounds, and one blocked shot for the Nuggets (21-18). Jamal Murray contributed 18 points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots. Gary Harris and Will Barton 17 points each.
The Nuggets committed a season-high 26 turnovers, the most glaring one is when Murray made a bad pass no sooner than the third quarter started. Nuggets coach Mike Malone denied using fatigue as a factor to losing the game.
Malone had to serve a one-game suspension that left him inactive when his team played the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 29. The Nuggets won 114-98. But he was on the sidelines for this match.
“You can say it was fatigue but I’m not going to use that excuse,” Malone said. “Poor decisions from the first play in the third quarter and went all the way to the last play. If we use that excuse it’s going to be a long season.”
Publicity Agents OpticalVision. Footage by T. Ray Harvey
The Nuggets, who beat Utah 98-91 at home the night before, just went through motion in the first half. While Denver committed nine turnovers in the first quarter, Kings could only keep them at bay with a 29-27 edge in the first 12 minutes.
Things really got bad in the second quarter. The Kings made 6 of 22 shots from the field at 27.3 percent while the Nuggets made on 5 of 19 from the floor at 26.3 percent.
The Kings did manage to build a 41-30 gap on a 3-point basket by Bogdanovic with 4:08 left to play in the first half, but the Nuggets came back to trail 46-41 at the break.
The Nuggets turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, nearly equally their mark for the season. Chandler was the culprit for Denver, mishandling the basketball five times in the first quarter.
The Nuggets battled back to cut the Kings’ lead 55-53 on a basket by Harris at the midway point of the third quarter. The Kings pulled themselves together to outscore the Nuggets 20-10, finished with a trey by Hield to give Sacramento a 75-63 margin.
The Kings led 79-71 to start the fourth quarter.
The Kings were missing to of their key veterans, but one of them was still active and he played 31 effective minutes. Forty-year-old Vince Carter came in to score two quick baskets, the second a 3-point shot to give the Kings an 84-71 lead to start the last 12 minutes of the game.
The Nuggets mounted an 18-10 run, completed by four-foot fadeaway basket by Lyles to leave Denver trailing 92-89 with 5:22 left to play. The Nuggets made four 3-pointers on that run, but when they could have gotten a little bit closer, they couldn’t hit the freebies.
Trailing 92-87, Miles Plumlee and Lyles missed two free throws each, which allowed the Kings outscore Denver 14-9 to finish the game. As a unit, the Kings collected a season-high 16 steals, thanks to Cauley-Stein’s effort on defense.
“I feel like they upped the pressure and was blitzing a lot,” Barton said of the Kings’ defense. “We came into the game a little lackadaisical, but I don't think we were ready for that pressure.”
Vince Carter had 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals as the Kings defeated the Nuggets. He made 5 0f 12 shots and grabbed four rebounds on the offensive end, too.
Frank Mason III is still out for the next for few day dealing with right heel contusion.
The Nuggets came into Sacramento averaging 107.7 points per game along with 45.3 rebounds per contest. Against the Kings, the Nuggets had 98 points and 46 rebounds.
On The Marquee
Sacramento Kings: Host San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 8.
Denver Nuggets: on the road for Golden State Warriors Jan. 8.
Publicity Agents OpticalVision. Footage by T. Ray Harvey
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.