CK Press Box Report – Denver Nuggets 122, Sacramento Kings 97

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

Upon returning home from a four-game road trip, the Sacramento Kings put together their worst effort of the season.  The Kings lost in blowout fashion 122-97 to the Denver Nuggets.  The 122 points allowed by the Kings was a season-high; the previous was 119 in Dallas just six days ago.  With the loss, Sacramento falls to 7-16 overall and 6-7 at home.

Notes and Analysis

  • This was more of a Denver Nuggets’ dunk-line than a basketball game today in Sacramento.  JaVale McGee put up one highlight reel dunk after another on his way to a 19-point, five-rebound, three-block performance.  I’m not sure that the Kings blocked him out even once during his 21 minutes of action.
  • DeMarcus Cousins posted a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double, but like most of his teammates, he was a non-factor on the defensive end.  He also picked up another technical foul in the first quarter, while coming to the aid of teammate Aaron Brooks.  I would be shocked if the NBA doesn’t rescind that one.
  • Jason Thompson continued his consistent play, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for a second Kings’ double-double.  Seven of Thompson’s rebounds came on the offensive end as both he and Cousins crashed the offensive glass early.
  • Although most of his points came in garbage time, Isaiah Thomas scored 20 off the Kings’ bench in the loss.  Thomas did most of his damage from the free-throw line where he made 13 of his 15 attempts.  He added a team-high four assists, but also turned the ball over four times.  Brooks should be hearing footsteps right about now, because IT is ready to steal his minutes.
  • Jimmer Fredette played almost 19 minutes in the second half, scoring 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting.  He looked a little timid or maybe he was trying to set up his teammates too much, but the fans were yelling for him to shoot and they were right.
  • The Kings finished the game with 13 total assists on the night.  They didn’t make shots and they played way too much one-on-one ball.  The Nuggets’ starting backcourt combined for 15  of their 27 total assists.
  • Stat of the Night: The Nuggets outscored the Kings 64 to 38 in points in the paint.  Of course they also out-shot the Kings 54 percent to 34 percent and out-rebounded the Kings 52 to 42.
– James Ham

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will the Kings be able to limit their turnovers?

Holding onto the ball wasn’t much of a problem for the Kings today, but sharing it was.  Sacramento dished out only 13 assists, which matched a season-low for a third time this season.  By comparison, the Nuggets recorded 27 assists.  During pregame, Keith Smart said ball movement would be critical for the Kings to get a win today.  Apparently, his team didn’t get the memo.

2. Can the Kings play from ahead for a change?

Once again, the Kings played from behind to start the game.  The Kings scored just eight points in the first eight minutes of the contest and would trail the Nuggets by as many as 19 points in the first half.  After the first two periods, the Kings found themselves in a 64-46 hole at intermission.  That deficit would grow even deeper following halftime as the Nuggets’ lead ballooned to 34 points.  With today’s latest loss, the Kings are now 1-15 in games where they trail the opposition at halftime.

3. Which team wins the battle on the glass?

Just like their lead, the Nuggets’ edge in the battle of the boards inflated after intermission.  At halftime, Denver held just a 24 to 21 lead in rebounds.  By the end of the game, the Nuggets had won that category handedly, out-rebounding the Nuggets 52 to 42.  Denver was especially strong controlling the defensive glass, where they beat the Kings by a 35 to 21 margin.  With no one player grabbing double-digit rebounds, it was a total team effort by the Nuggets on the boards today.  Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson led Denver with eight rebounds a piece.

– Jonathan Santiago

Quotes of the Game

Keith Smart trying to explain why the Kings didn’t start the game with any energy:

I told the guys the other day that this is going to be a weird thing for you.  So you’re going to need to do all that you need to do to get yourself ready because you’re coming back in (to Sacramento).  Denver – the same way, an early game at 3 o’clock, but coming back from the east coast you have to do some things to get yourself moving and ready to go.  You are going to have to have the energy to start the game off and obviously we didn’t have that to start the game off.  Guys may have done some things, but it wasn’t what you needed.

This team, we knew would come out fast and the first half, they (scored more than) 51 points, and so they’re going to put the hammer down real quick in the basketball game.  We didn’t have the force to be able to push the tempo.  And again, when you miss a lot of wide-open shots, you can’t break  runs.  You just can’t.  Every time you do the right things to get a wide open shot or get an easy basket near the bucket – when you don’t convert those, that (other) team closes in really fast.

Jimmer Fredette on whether he thought he would get in the game sooner with Tyreke Evans going down early:

No, not necessarily.  Whenever I hear my name called, I’m just ready to go when I play.  You never know what rotations he’s going to play on a nightly basis.  You have to just be ready to go and you know obviously he thought that some bigger guys in the lineup some of their guys to maybe switch screens and everything was the answer in the first half.  And you know I just stayed ready and got in a little bit in the third.

Aaron Brooks on fans the game leaving early:

You know, you just apologize.  They shouldn’t have to pay to watch that.  I don’t think it’s anything that the coach can say and I feel bad for coach because it’s the players.  He’s putting us in a position to be successful…


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