Poor interior defense killed the Sacramento Kings, who lost big, 122-93, to the visiting Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.
“Not what I expected,” said head coach Keith Smart postgame. “I’m sure that wasn’t what our fans expected either. I’m kind of embarrassed for our fans to watch us play that way, but we have to deal with it when things aren’t going well – on the road or at home.”
Sacramento allowed 92 points in the paint in the 29-point blowout. The Kings inability to defend inside in their final January home game allowed the Nuggets to shoot 54.9 percent from the field.
A 13-0 Nuggets run midway through the second quarter broke the game open and increased the Kings deficit to 17. Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari scored nine of Denver’s points during that span and would finish leading all scorers with 23 points and five assists.
Jimmer Fredette and DeMarcus Cousins were the Kings’ only bright spots. Fredette, who started in place of the injured Marcus Thornton, finished with 19 points, his third-straight game in double digits. Cousins, meanwhile, finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, his fifth-consecutive game with a double-double.
Notes and Analysis
- Cousins notched another double-double tonight for the Kings, but did a lot of his damage in scrub time. He finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, but certainly played a part in the miserable defensive effort.
- Gallinari scored 21 of his 23 points in the first half, shooting seven-for-10 from the field and six-for-six from the line.
- Fredette had a nice offensive game for the Kings, scoring 19 points on six-for-13 shooting. He hit five of his eight three-point attempts as well. But like the rest of his teammates, his defensive effort left something to be desired.
- Fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas also had a solid offensive night, scoring 16 points on six-for-10 shooting. The Nuggets abused him in the paint, but the rookie dished out six assists and only turned the ball over twice in 30 minutes of action.
- The Nuggets out-rebounded the Kings 48-35 overall and 17-12 on the offensive end.
- Seven Nugget players scored in double figures tonight, led by Gallinari’s 23.
- Tyler Honeycutt made his second appearance as a pro, scoring two points and grabbing two steals in four minutes of action.
- Stat of the Night: Only four of the Nuggets 50 made field goals came from outside the paint tonight. They scored 92 points inside the paint, hit two three pointers, made 20 free throws, leaving only two non-three point, non-paint buckets on the night.
- Here is a graphic illustration of the Denver Nuggets shooting tonight. The Nuggets scored 22 points in the paint in the first quarter, 24 in the second, 28 in the third and 18 in the fourth.