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Recap: Denver Nuggets hang on to beat the Sacramento Kings

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings started their game with some hot scoring on the road as the two sides combined for 28 points within the first five minutes of the game, including seven by former Nugget Trey Lyles. Coming out of a Denver timeout, the Nuggets were scorching the Nets, as they went on an 11-4 run over a two-minute span. The Kings quickly reacted with a run of their own, and they were keeping things close with the Nuggets in the first quarter of this game. Over the final minutes of the quarter, the two sides struggled to score, and the Nuggets were leading 32-29 at the end of the first.

After starting the first quarter hot, the second quarter did not follow suit with a combined two points being scored in the first two minutes of the period. After starting the quarter slow, the Nuggets turned things on, and they started to build a lead over the next several minutes, especially once Nikola Jokic had re-entered the game. Their lead at one point had ballooned to 18 points, but, as the quarter was winding down, Denver allowed some late points by the Kings. They went into the half leading 63-51, with Jokic leading the charge with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

The second half started hot for the Kings, and the two sides began trading baskets after that. Sacramento was getting a lot of production out of De’Aaron Fox, and the Nuggets had no answers for him. The Kings got themselves within seven with around six minutes remaining in the quarter. The Kings kept rolling thanks to some Denver turnovers, and they were within three with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter. Over the final minutes of the quarter, neither side was able to build much of a run, but the Kings were keeping things close. After outplaying the Nuggets in the third quarter, they were trailing 77-80 heading into the final period.

Denver started the fourth quarter able to hold the line, but that quickly ran out due to turnovers. The Nuggets couldn’t take care of the ball, and the Kings were taking advantage as they eventually tied the game at 87 before taking the lead 90-89 with 6:00 remaining for their first lead of the game since the score was 15-13. Out of a timeout, Denver was leading, but they quickly gave up that lead. A big triple from Austin Rivers gave Denver a two-point lead with four minutes to go. After getting within one, the Nuggets started to stretch things out with Jokic and Monte Morris taking the game into their hands. Their lead was up to seven before a 3-point play from De’Aaron Fox had the Kings within four. They traded two-point trips before Aaron Gordon was sent to the line leading 104-100 with 17.7 remaining. Gordon was able to hit both, and the Nuggets were leading by six. Following a miss by the Kings, Denver had the game all but wrapped up with 5.9 remaining on the clock after Morris turned the ball over when he overthrew Jokic, who was streaking down the floor. The Kings were unable to score, and Denver hung on for the 106-100 win.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic - 38

Assists: Jokic - 7

Rebounds: Jokic - 18

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic - 38 points, 18 rebounds, 7 assists, 15-of-24 field goal, 0-of-2 3-point, 8-of-9 free throw