The Sacramento Kings bucked the trend with an impressive second
half Sunday night.
Forward Rudy Gay scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, guard
Isaiah Thomas added 33 points, and the Kings beat the Denver Nuggets
Center DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points, nine rebounds and five blocks
for the Kings, who won their second game in a row.
"To come in here on a back-to-back is not an easy place to win,"
Sacramento coach Mike Malone said. "It's only happened nine times in
the last five years, and they were 5-0 this year."
In fact, Denver was 51-9 the past 60 times a team has traveled from
the West to play the next night at the Pepsi Center.
However, the Kings, who beat the Boston Celtics at home on Saturday
night, weren't fazed by those stats.
"We played a solid game overall," Thomas said. "Defensively, it was
great for us."
Guard Evan Fournier scored a career-high 27 points and guard Randy
Foye also had 27 for Denver, which lost for the seventh time in
"We've got to stay together, we've got to keep fighting and keep
believing," Foye said. "Everybody goes through times like this
during the season. It's important for us to continue to fight, to
Sacramento shook up its roster at the trade deadline by sending
guard Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets, and his exit will give
rookie guard Ben McLemore more room to develop.
On Sunday, the Kings didn't need much from McLemore because their
top three scorers showed the way. Cousins, whose availability was a
game-time decision because of a left hip flexor injury, scored 11
points in the first quarter as Sacramento took an early seven-point
"They scored over 90 points tonight, and they did it very
efficiently," Malone said of Cousins, Gay and Thomas. "Credit to
those guys. When all three of those guys are playing and we're
healthy, we're a very tough team."
The Nuggets have struggled on both ends of the court since embarking
on a four-game road trip before the All-Star break. They lost four
times by 27 points or more, and their only win since Feb. 5 was
against the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.
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The absence of guard Ty Lawson was mitigated, somewhat, by the
arrival of point guard Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets. Brooks
helped solidify Denver's rotation, allowing players to return to
their natural positions.
Even so, the Nuggets had no answers when the Kings' big three came
alive in the third quarter. The trio scored 35 points in the period
as the Kings outscored Denver 39-18.
"It's tough, man," Foye said. "There's really no excuses. We
basically controlled the whole first half, did what we wanted to do
and then we come out and give up 39 points in the third quarter."
Gay and Thomas combined for 24 points during a stretch in which the
Kings outscored Denver 32-6.
Thomas ended the quarter with a three-point play with less than a
second remaining to give Sacramento a 87-70 lead.
"Rudy started it off, DeMarcus got easy buckets, and I just got what
they gave me," Thomas said. "I was making open shots. We played a
helluva third quarter."
The Nuggets got within 10 on forward Wilson Chandler's 3-pointer
midway through the fourth, but Gay's third three-point play of the
half made it 101-84.
Ultimately, they had three guys that we couldn't stop," Denver coach
Brian Shaw said.
There was a noticeable difference in Denver's offense in the first
half before things fell apart in the third quarter. Before the
break, Fournier was 6-for-8 from the field looked energized coming
off the bench. Denver rebounded from a slow start to take a 13-point
lead midway through the second quarter.
Thomas and Gay helped the Kings get within 52-48 at intermission.
NOTES: Nuggets G Ty Lawson missed his sixth consecutive game because
of a fractured rib on his left side. "I'm feeling better," he said.
"I did some running (on the practice court before the game) and it
felt good. Just little sore." ... The Kings announced that newly
acquired G Jason Terry would spend the rest of the season rehabbing
his injured left knee. ... Nuggets F Darrell Arthur didn't play due
to a hip injury suffered in Friday's loss to the Chicago Bulls. ...
Kings F Rudy Gay began the night averaging 20 points and 5.6
rebounds since coming over in a trade with the Toronto Raptors on
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