NBA Basketball
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98
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Denver 27 14 30 27 98
Sacramento 29 17 33 27 106
106
7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST7:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 6, 2018
Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California  Attendance: 17,583

Kings try to put up better fight against Nuggets

According to STATS
According to STATS

Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings

  1. The Nuggets are 2-0 against the Kings in 2017-18, winning both games by 16+ points. In the November 20 meeting at Sacramento, the game was tied at halftime, but Denver outscored Sacramento 67-51 in the second half. Overall, the Nuggets have won the last four games in this series.
  2. Each of Sacramento's last five games has been decided by 10 or more points. The last time the Kings had a longer streak was when they played in six straight games decided by 10+ points, February 21-March 4, 2015. Sacramento is coming off a 20-point loss at Charlotte on Tuesday.
  3. Skal Labissiere had 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against Charlotte on Tuesday. It was the second-year player's fourth career double-double.
  4. Zach Randolph has seen his scoring average and field-goal percentage improve in each month this season: from October (9.8 PPG, .389 FG%) to November (14.0 PPG, .500 FG%) to December (18.1, .535 FG%). He had 24 points on 61.1 percent shooting in his lone game this month.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- It won't take much for progress to be shown by the Sacramento Kings. Being competitive for the first time in a week would be a start.

Against a Denver Nuggets team that's playing well, even that low bar might be tough to reach.

The Kings (12-25) host the Nuggets (21-17) on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in the fifth of a six-game homestand that will equal a season high. They've lost the past three by a combined 48 points.

They haven't seemed that close.

"When you play against us, it's kind of like, pick whatever you want to do," Kings guard Garrett Temple told reporters after Sacramento's 131-111 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.

The 131 points allowed marked a season worst for the Kings, as did the 72 points they allowed in the first half against them. That effort surpassed the 64 Sacramento allowed in the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

The Kings' past three opponents have averaged 118.7 points and shot 53.2 percent from the floor.

"We just aren't guarding in the pick-and-roll, whether it's one-on-one, people get into the paint and do what they want to do," Temple told reporters. "We got to defend. As simple as that."

Said coach Dave Joerger to reporters: "Teams are definitely confident they can come in and shoot well."

The Nuggets aren't the easiest team to defend. The Nuggets built a 21-point lead in a 99-91 home victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night, and they average 108 points per contest. They averaged 117 per game in their four previous contests before the win over Utah.

The victory also put the Nuggets four games above .500 for the third time this season. They will be playing the second game of a back-to-back for the sixth time, and are 1-4 in the previous five. They beat the Kings 114-98 in the second of a back-to-back set on Nov. 20.

Trey Lyles scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the victory over Utah. Jamal Murray also added 26 points.

After the game, Lyles pointed to Denver's defense, which allowed 105.9 points per contest, the ninth-best mark in the NBA entering the game.

"We started locking down defensively," he told reporters after the game. "We made it hard for them to score and get what they wanted. When we play defense like that, we can score with the best of them."

The Nuggets blew out Utah with a 38-point third quarter. Such quarters have been typical against Sacramento's recent defense, which has dropped to 13th in the league in opponents scoring (106.4 per game) with its recent efforts.

"It has me speechless," Temple told reporters. "There's nothing to say. We have to guard. We have to man up and play defense, defend."

Sacramento needs all the defense it can get, because it remains last in the NBA in scoring at 97.4 points per game.

Rookie guard De'Aaron Fox scored 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting in his first game since Dec. 19. Fox had missed six straight games because of a partially torn right quadriceps muscle. He played 33 minutes, his most since Dec. 8 at New Orleans.

Updated January 6, 2018

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