The Sacramento Kings allowed the Denver Nuggets to steamroll them from the jump and lost 121-93 on the first contest of a six-game road trip.  The Nuggets scored 71 points in the first half and led by as many as 35 in their blowout of the Kings.  With the loss, the Kings fall to 16-29 overall and 4-17 on the road.  Sacramento now heads off to the nation’s capital, where they’ll face the Washington Wizards for the final time this season on Monday.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins was a non-factor tonight.  The Kings starting center failed to reach double figures in either or points or rebounds for the first time since Dec. 21, 2012, when he was benched at halftime against the Los Angeles Clippers.  He never got into a rhythm and Keith Smart chose to sit him the entire second period.  Cousins finished with just three points on 1-of-6 shooting and two rebounds in the loss.
  • The same could be said about Tyreke Evans, but was it by his own doing?  The 23-year-old shooting guard actually played an effective game, scoring 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while also going 2-of-2 from 3-point range.  However, Smart only used Evans for 22 minutes tonight and left his starting 2-guard on the bench in the entire second quarter.
  • Aaron Brooks and Thomas Robinson were the lone bright spots off the Kings’ bench Saturday.  After sitting out last night’s loss to the Thunder, Brooks scored 16 points and played a team-high 27 minutes.  Robinson recorded his third double-double of his career, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
  • As usual, the Nuggets’ offensive attack was powered by their transition game.  Denver outscored the Kings 33-22 in fastbreak points Saturday night.
  • The Nuggets tied a season-high for points allowed by the Kings in a quarter.  Denver came out of the gates gunning, scoring 39 in the first period.  That matched the 39 the Golden State Warriors scored on the Kings in the 4th quarter on Dec. 19, 2012.
  • The Kings coughed up 19 turnovers in tonight’s loss.  In their last three games, Sacramento is averaging 18 turnovers per contest.
  • Stat of the Night: The Nuggets and Kings practically attempted the same number of shots tonight (Denver – 89, Sacramento – 88).  However, Denver made 10 more baskets than the Kings (47 to 37).  The Nuggets also made five more 3-pointers than Sacramento (13 to 8).

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will the Kings allow the Nuggets to dominate in the paint?

The Nuggets are a well-oiled machine when it comes to their offensive execution.  And tonight was no different than their previous meeting with the Kings earlier this season.  Denver scored 20 points in the paint in the first quarter alone.  The Nuggets went on to obliterate the Kings inside, finishing with 56 points in the paint on the night.  That practically matched their season average, which before this contest stood at an NBA-best 56.3 points in the paint per game.

2.  Will the Kings let another relative unknown go off?

Not this time.  The usual suspects went off for Denver tonight.  Andre Iguodala did damage in the first half where he scored 17 of his 20 total points.  Then after intermission, Ty Lawson picked up where Iguodala left off, scoring 11 of his 26 points in the third quarter.  For their bench, JaVale McGee benefited from DeMarcus Cousins’ off night.  The Nuggets’ talented reserve big man scored an easy six points on 3-of-4 shooting in the quarter before halftime.  He finished the evening with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

3.  Which Kings players draws the short-end of the straw in Keith Smart‘s rotation?

No one was left out of the rotation tonight.  By halftime, Smart had used 12 players and the odd-man out, Travis Outlaw, would later check in following intermission.  After sitting out due to coach’s decision Friday, Chuck Hayes, Aaron Brooks and Francisco Garcia all played tonight, which did cut into the time of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.  The Kings’ two best players sat out the final four minutes of the first quarter and all of the second period as Smart once again tinkered with his lineup.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.