The Denver Nuggets went into Sacramento to find a win but they couldn’t quite get this one down. This is the second game in a row that the Nuggets should have won, instead, they took another tough loss.
Tonight, it looked like the Nuggets were still on All-Star Break. It doesn’t need to be said, but there was absolutely no energy on the floor tonight. The Kings, however, were in their first game with DeMarcus Cousins and looked to prove that they could get a W without him.
A fully healthy Nuggets team had a decent start to the game but ultimately, they weren’t able to hack this one. After a few good minutes, the Kings took the game over and the Nuggets were never able to make a comeback.
The Nuggets started off with Danilo Gallinari’s 3-point play and quite frankly, it was nice to see Gallo back on the court after he missed 8 games.
The Nuggets led the Kings throughout the majority of the first, but in the last minutes, the Kings found themselves up three. The Nuggets were outscored, 29-26 in the first. In the second, the Nuggets were once again outscored 32-18. Going into the half, the Nuggets were down by 18 as they trailed 62-44. The Nuggets and Kings came out in the third and scored 26 a piece. The Nuggets got it down to nine in the 3rd and could have cut it down to 7, but Nikola Jokic was blocked and they never cut the Kings lead in single digits after that. In the fourth, the Nuggets were able to outscore the Kings 30-29, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback. Ultimately, the Nuggets fell 116-100.
“It’s disappointing knowing what’s at stake.” -Coach Malone
The big story tonight, as it has been all season long, is the lack of defense. There was little to no defense throughout the entirety of the game and that had a big play in the Nuggets loss tonight. Another big issue that the Nuggets faced is that their bench only put up 44 points. The Kings bench put up 72 points.
The Nuggets had Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried back in the starting lineup tonight. Gallo put up 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Manimal didn’t quite look like he was up to par following his ankle injury, as he put up 2 points, grabbed 3 boards, and had 1 dime. Even Nikola Jokic had an off night–the Joker only had 4 points, 10 boards, and 2 assists in his 26 minutes. The Nuggets leading scorer was Gary Harris, who put up 23 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.
The Kings were led by Willie Cauley-Stein off of the bench for 29 points and 10 rebounds.
“We’ve just got to forget about this game. We just didn’t bring it tonight. We’re lucky that we have another game at home tomorrow night that we need to take care of so just focus on the next one and forget what happened tonight.” -Danilo Gallinari
The Nuggets are now just half a game over the Kings, sitting in the eight seed in the West.
FG%: 44.3% 52.3%
3PT%: 34.3% 50%
FT: 71.4% 89.5%
Rebounds: 42 47
Steals: 10 7
Turnovers: 15 14
Points in Paint: 48 52
Fast Break Points: 10 11
The Nuggets will fly back home tonight and rest up before they face the Nets tomorrow night here in the Pepsi Center. I will be LIVE from the Pepsi Center, so be sure to turn in to our Twitter account, @DigInDenver.
Note: Roy Hibbert will be in the Mile High City tomorrow night following today’s trade with Milwaukee.