In our first game post All-Star Break, the Nuggets visit a DeMarcus Cousinsless Sacramento Kings for our second meeting this season.
In our last meeting back on January 3rd, the Nuggets were led by Danilo Gallinari with 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Nikola Jokic was the second highest scorer for Denver that night with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 dimes. That night, we shot 49.4% from the field, 47.4% from three-point land, and 100% from the line.
The Kings shot 52.3% from the field, 37.9% from downtown, and 94.4% from the line and were led by Demarcus Cousins with 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Darren Collison put up 26 points, 2 boards, and 7 assists.
After the 120-113 loss to the Kings, people were beginning to think that the Nuggets could kiss the playoffs goodbye but not Gallo, who said, “It’s only the second game of 2017.” Following that loss, Denver was 1.5 games behind the Kings (who were the holders of the eighth seed at that point) and sat at 10th in the West.
Now, the tables have turned and it is now the Nuggets that are the lone holders of the eighth seed with a 25-31 record and 1.5 games ahead of Sacramento and their 24-33 record.
Tonight, it can be expected that the Kings work on their chemistry with Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway, who Sacramento acquired in a trade on Sunday that sent DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Nuggets will also continue to work on their chemistry with Mason Plumlee, who Denver acquired from the Trail Blazers when we sent Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Following Tuesday night’s practice, Coach Malone said that, “he and Nikola will not play nearly as many minutes together now that we’re healthy.”
Now that DeMarcus Cousins is gone, the newest leading scorer for the Kings is Darren Collison, who is averaging 13.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists this season. After missing the last eight games due to a groin injury, Danilo Gallinari, who is currently listed as questionable for the same groin injury, continues to be the Nuggets leading scorer as he averages 17.2 points, 4.9 boards, and 2.2 assists this season.
Now that the team is healthy, or at least healthier than it was prior to All-Star Break, Jameer Nelson will continue to start at the point guard position and Emmanuel Mudiay will now be coming off of the bench.
The Kings are 12-15 at home this season and Denver is 10-18 on the road.
Nuggets Stats: Kings Stats:
FG%: 46.1 FG%: 45.6
RPG: 46.7 RPG: 41
Last 10: 4-6 Last 10: 5-5
- With news surfacing that Jameer Nelson will take over the starting point guard spot, it is important for him to produce.
- The Nuggets are believed to have everyone healthy against Sacramento. They played decent before the All-Star break without key players. Depending on who is able to contribute, the Nuggets will leave SAC with a W.
- The Kings were underwhelming with DeMarcus Cousins and now he is gone. Sacramento will most likely be one of the worst teams in the league come seasons end. Take care of business. We can’t have a let down similar to the Minnesota game before the All-Star break.
Danilo Gallinari (groin) questionable
Darrell Arthur (illness) questionable
Kenneth Faried (ankle) doubtful
Ty Lawson (leg) probable
Arron Afflalo (hamstring) probable
Garrett Temple (hamstring) out
**TIPOFF IS AT 8:30 PM MST**
NOTE: This game is on the much anticipated trade deadline, so be sure to watch the headlines for trades prior to this game.