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Recap: Nuggets get narrow win over Kings thanks to Aaron Gordon early, and Monte Morris late

Nikola Jokic also got his 73rd career triple double! Pretty neat!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets narrowly beat the Sacramento Kings 115-110 as the win their fifth straight. Aaron Gordon lit up the Kings early, Monte Morris was clutch down the stretch. Boogie and Bones played well off the bench. And the topping of it all is that Nikola Jokic got his 73rd career triple double!

First Quarter

  • The Nuggets opened the game with Jokic winning the jump ball. Then Monte Morris knocked down a three as the first basket in the game. Will Barton and Aaron Gordon also added to the barrage of threes and the three quick threes forced the Kings into an early timeout less than two minutes into the game.
  • De’Aaron Fox started giving the Nuggets issues and scored a three out of the timeout. He also hit a turnaround jumper. Aaron Gordon continued making bucket after bucket though and had a nice drive that resulted in a dunk.
  • Will and Jeff Green got involved each hitting a couple of jumpers. Aaron Gordon hit a couple of jumpers himself, and while the Kings were scoring with them; the Nuggets were outpacing them.
  • Aaron Gordon hit another three. The Kings had a couple of buckets from De’Aaron Fox and former Nugget Trey Lyles. The Nuggets called timeout and Jokic scored a pair of free throws; his first points of the game. However, things quickly soured as the Nuggets slim lead turned into a tied game. Monte Morris changed that with a three. Harrison Barnes got a dunk, and then the bench came in with the score at 29-28; Nuggets lead.
  • The bench closed the quarter very well. They hit some threes, moved the ball well, and attacked the hoop with vigor. There was a nice connection forming between Boogie Cousins and Bones Hyland who connected on a nice layup. Bones also hit a three, and the Nuggets left the first quarter up 38-30.

Score: 38-30 Nuggets lead

Scoring leaders: Aaron Gordon - 12, De’Aaron Fox - 9

Second Quarter

  • The first stint of the second quarter was nothing special. Austin Rivers hit a three. Who, as an aside, is playing really well as of late and should probably get a nod for the playoff rotation. Besides that though, there was nothing really to see. Just a lot of turnovers, fouls, and one Trey Lyles free throw as the only other point scored by either team before Denver called timeout.
  • The rest of the bench’s stint was filled with decent defense. Specifically by Demarcus Cousins who was having a really nice defensive impact. He had a block and a couple of steals. However, he also missed both of his attempts from the field, and turned the ball over three times in his first half minutes. It was certainly a mixed bag.
  • The starters came in after Demarcus got called for an illegal screen. It was very ugly basketball. A couple of attempts by the Nuggets got blocked at the rim and there were a couple of fouls committed as well. What was a 9 point lead got cut down to 3 fast and in a hurry. Aaron Gordon then hit a long midrange shot and got things back on track.
  • Jeremy Lamb hit a 3, and Monte responded with one of his own. A couple of buckets were exchanged by Will and Alex Len. Joker then kicked up a little bit and after giving a stank face to the official, he posted Len up and got a bucket. AG continued to be on fire, and hit a tough turnaround midrange jumper; a move that’s become a staple of his this season.
  • Everything was going swell! The Nuggets were up 9! That’s almost double digits! However, it’s the Nuggets. Nothing can ever be that easy. Justin Holiday and Harrison Barnes both hit threes, Jeremy Lamb had a finger roll and a pair of free throws, and Alex Len hit 1 of 2 from the charity stripe. The Nuggets starters were very sloppy to close the quarter.

Score: 59-59 Tied Game

Scoring Leaders: Aaron Gordon - 16, De’Aaron Fox - 13

Third Quarter

  • Monte Morris opened the half by knocking down a three. Joker hit a couple of free throws and got a good post up inside. It seemed like the offense was going to take off again, but instead it just hit a wall. The Nuggets missed 4 shots in a row and the only thing that made it not be 5 in a row was a pair of Aaron Gordon free throws. The Kings continued to be pretty decent on the offensive end after a slow start to the quarter and went up 70-68 before Denver called a timeout. Denver had a lack of effort from a couple of players, namely Jeff Green. He had horrendous defensive effort during that stint.
  • Aaron had another pair of free throws, and Jokic generated some points; but holy heck dude the defensive effort just fell apart man. The starters looked like they just didn’t want to be there. Malone called another time out after De’Aaron Fox continued to just pick apart the Nuggets’ defense entirely. The Kings hammered the paint and it was paying off.
  • As it felt like this one was slipping from the Nuggets, the bench came in and played pretty well. Rivers hit a three off a dime from Bones, Bones hit one of his own. Then he got fouled on a three and knocked all of the free throws down. Bones then missed a three but Boogie got a big put-back dunk to bring the game back to a tie after being down by 7 just a couple minutes earlier. The bench kept them in this one.

Score: 85-85 Tied Game

Leading Scorers: Aaron Gordon - 20, De’Aaron Fox - 22

Fourth Quarter

  • The fourth opened with how the third closed; Boogie Cousins doing his thing. He got a big dunk off a Rivers assist, and a nice layup from a drive. He got the crowd and team back and hyped in the game against his former team. It was really great to see. Jamychal Green also hit a 3, so the Nuggets went up 7 before the Kings called a timeout.
  • Unfortunately, the Kings made it a two point game again. Bones missed a shot, Boogie turned it over and got a foul. Kings made some shots. Harrison Barnes had a free throw and a layup, and Domantas Sabonis who had a quiet night overall hit a hook shot to bring the Kings back within 2. Malone called a timeout.
  • Sabonis came back after the timeout and hit another hook shot which Demarcus fouled him on. Boogie then got fouled a couple possessions later and was fouled. However, he got a technical from talking a little too much after the fact. He knocked one down, and after that Jokic came back in.
  • Once Jokic came in, he immediately started impacting the game. He hooked Barton up with a good look for 3 which he knocked down. Then after a Fox layup, he hit Monte on a cut for a wide open layup. However, the Nuggets decided another tech was a good idea and Rivers picked up the team’s second technical foul of the quarter. Barnes knocked down the free throw, and Lamb knocked down both free throws which prompted Rivers’ jawing off.
  • Jokic hit a jumper. Fox hit a jumper. Barnes hit a floater. Gordon hit a 3. Sacramento called a timeout. The Nuggets were going blow for blow with the Kings down the stretch and that Gordon 3 was his third of the night, and put him at 23 points on the night. Also put the Nuggets up 1. Monte then hit a floater. Lamb hit a free throw. Sabonis hit another post shot. Will hit a huge 3, Sabonis hit a post shot and free throw. It was blow for blow — until Monte decided to live up to his Big Game nickname and hit the shot to seal the win with a step back 3. After that the Kings missed a 3, Jokic got the rebound for his 73rd career triple double, and the free throw game ensued. Nuggets win.

Final Score: 115-110

Leading Scorers: Aaron Gordon - 23, De’Aaron Fox - 26