Game Recap: Kings vs. Nuggets

Starting Line-ups

Kings

  • Beno Udrih
  • Tyreke Evans
  • Francisco Garcia
  • Jason Thompson
  • DeMarcus Cousins

Reserves:  Jermaine Taylor, Donté Greene, Samuel Dalembert, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi, Darnell Jackson, Pooh Jeter.

Inactives:  Luther Head.

Nuggets

  • Chauncey Billups
  • Aaron Afflalo
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Kenyon Martin
  • Nené

Reserves:  Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, Ty Lawson, J.R. Smith, Chris Andersen, Renaldo Balkman, Gary Forbes.

First Quarter Recap

For the 13th time in 30 games, the Kings began the game with a different starting line-up.  Rookie DeMarcus rejoined the starting five after a short hiatus following his demotion for disciplinary issues.  The Nuggets got off to a very fast start, getting impressive play from Nené, who took Cousins to school early and often, scoring 11 in the first.  Cousins responded with eight points to lead the Kings, but the inability of both Garcia and Casspi to hit open perimeter shots really hurt the Kings.  The Kings finished with a flurry, erasing the Nuggets’ early lead and finishing the quarter tied.

Kings  23  Nuggets  23

Leaders

Kings-   Cousins (8) Points;   Cousins (3) Rebounds;   Udrih (3) Assists.

Nuggets-   Nené (11) Points;   Anderson/Martin (4) Rebounds;   Billups (2) Assists.

Second Quarter Recap

The Kings struggled mightily in the second, allowing Denver to take a lead and then stretch it to 13.  Coach Westphal tried a multitude of different line-ups, even turning to Jermaine Taylor for a stretch.  Carmelo Anthony was ridiculously bad in the first half, going 1-11 from the field for only two points.  Even with their star struggling, the Nuggets still had very little trouble holding down the Kings, who shot the ball poorly.  At the half, the Kings trailed by 12, after they put up a measly 16 points in the second quarter.

Kings  39  Nuggets 51

Leaders

Kings-   Landry/Cousins (11) Points;   Landry/Cousins (3) Rebounds;   Evans/Udrih (3) Assists.

Nuggets-   Nené (16) Points;   Nené (6) Rebounds;   Four tied (2) Assists.

Team                  Kings         Nuggets
FG%                     39%              49%
Rebounds          13                 30
Assists/TO        10/5            13/13

Third Quarter Recap

The Kings started quickly in the third, using a 7-0 run to cut the Nugget lead to five.  The game moved through the third, floating between a five and nine point advantage for the Nuggets until a late push got it back to 11.  Coach Westphal turned to Jermaine Taylor again in the third and this time it proved disastrous.  The second year guard took a couple of questionable shots, and on the defensive end he fouled Billips on a three pointer.  Taylor did finish the quarter dishing off a very nice assist to Darnell Jackson for a monster dunk to cut the Nugget lead to 11.

Kings  60  Nuggets 71

Leaders

Kings-   Cousins (15) Points;   Cousins (8) Rebounds;   Evans/Udrih (4) Assists.

Nuggets-   Billups (17) Points;   Nené (11) Rebounds;   Billups (3) Assists.

Fourth Quarter Recap

The Kings began the fourth with a nice basket to cut the lead to nine, but then the wheels fell off their bus.  At the 9:13 mark, the Nugget lead was 20 and the game was pretty much over.  Jason Thompson did his best to keep the Kings in it, scoring on a couple of nice post moves and on a huge dunk on the break over Chris Andersen.   Thompson was the one bright spot, scoring 13 of his 17 points in the fourth.  The Kings shot poorly from the field, from three point land and from the free throw stripe, and got out-rebounded horribly in a disappointing 18 point loss to the Nuggets.

Kings lose.

Kings  86  Nuggets  104

Leaders

Kings-   Thompson (17) Points;   Cousins (8) Rebounds;   Evans (5) Assists.

Nuggets-   Billups (22) Points;   Nené (14) Rebounds;   Billups (5) Assists.

Team                    Kings         Nuggets
FG%                       42.2%          45.9%
Rebounds            35                 58
Assists/TO           23/14         22/20

Player of the Game: Nené. The big man out of Brazil set the tone early, smoking the Kings in the first quarter for 11 points.  He finished the game with 16 points and 14 rebounds to give the Nuggets the inside presence they needed.

The Difference Maker: J.R. Smith and Chancey Billups.  Both of these guys were money from the field, combining for 39 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while shooting 14-23 from the field and 6-9 from three.  Every time the Kings made a run, one of these two guys dropped a big shot in and they definitely made up for the 6-22 shooting of Carmelo Anthony.

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.