The Sacramento Kings found themselves down by double-digits early in the first quarter. Past teams would’ve called it a game then and there, but this team fought themselves back quarter by quarter and eventually into overtime after tremendous defense from Cory Joseph and Richaun Holmes. They took their first lead in overtime thanks to Harrison Barnes and came away with a win against a Nuggets team who entered with a 13-3 record and were #1 in many defensive categories. With the win, the Kings are tied for the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
Both teams were even at 6 a piece in the first few minutes, then the Nuggets turned it up a notch and within a blink of an eye led 17-6. Gary Harris, who averages 10 points a game, was unstoppable. He was making his shots from everywhere on the floor and the Kings had no answer for his 18 points. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic had minimal impact on the offensive end yet the Nuggets had no issues. The Kings on the other hand struggled to rebound which gave the Nuggets more opportunities and Denver fed off Sacramento turnovers too. Harrison Barnes led the team with 5 points while Bogdan Bogdanovic added four off the bench but missed some good looks. Kings trailed 27-17 after one.
The Kings were on a 9-0 run to open the second quarter, but the Nuggets were able to respond and take their lead back to double digits where it would remain for the remainder of the quarter. The Kings did not hit their first three of the game until late in the quarter when Bogi knocked down a corner three. Later, Nemanja Bjelica drilled a deep three but that put the Kings at 2-13 overall from deep. Denver on the other hand shot 9-16 from beyond the arc. Sacramento shot 15-45 in the first half (32.6%) against one of the league’s best defenses in Denver. Jokic and Murray were a combined 7 points on 2-6 shooting, but Harris, Will Barton and Malik Beasley had it going from deep to propel Denver to a 57-40 lead at the half.
Sacramento performed much better in the third quarter and were able to drop in three three pointers. Buddy Hield and Bogi continued to struggle from the field, especially from deep as they went 2-10. Harrison Barnes shouldered the load doing everything on offense. Making threes, drawing fouls and making the free throws to take his point total to 20. Richaun Holmes had a monstrous one-handed putback dunk too. The Kings cut the lead to 68-65, but an untimely Bogi turnover gave Denver the momentum to close the quarter with a 75-67 lead. Murray had a much better quarter for Denver to finish with 13 points. Sacramento outscored Denver 27-18 in the third.
The Nuggets kept missing but the Kings responded by doing the same. Both Buddy and Bogi couldn’t hit any of their threes but there was success when Sacramento took shots inside the arc. Then the game got intense. Murray hit a runner to end a four minute field goal drought, then Hield made a three. Jokic turned it over but Bogi’s three seemed to have been blocked. After a miss by Denver, Hield drilled another three to bring it to 88-89, but Jokic got a foul call the other end with 34 seconds remaining. The first free throw missed but he made the second. Bogi set up a cutting Buddy who finished with a layup at the basket. For the final possession, Murray was locked down by Cory Joseph then Holmes swung from behind for a block to end regulation.
A Barnes fallaway gave the Kings their first lead in overtime, then Harris gave Denver the lead with a three for his first points since the first half. Barnes missed a fallaway, but made a leaping steal which didn’t result in any points and Holmes would foul out the other way. Barnes on an iso play took it to the basket and finished a tough one. Hield made two free throws to make it 100-97 and Murray ran out the clock and didn’t shoot. Kings win!
Harrison Barnes had a massive game and is the main reason the Kings won today. He finished with 30 points, five rebounds, one assist and three steals. He drew plenty of fouls, a good theme lately, and converted 9-10 from the stripe. Twelve points came in the third alone which boosted the Kings back into the game.
Buddy Hield struggled throughout the game shooting wise and was 1-10 from deep at one point. Then he flipped the switch, making two threes and driving for layups at the rim. He finished with 21 points on 7-20 shooting overall and 3-13 from three with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
Richaun Holmes had a 13 point, 10 rebound double-double and Nemanja Bjelica had a 10 point, 12 rebound double-double. Bjelica also had five assists.
The Kings were 18-21 from the free throw line, good for 85.7%. That gets it done.
Sacramento won the rebound battle 50-48 but Denver had more assists at 23-22.
Denver was 9-16 from deep, but finished 11-32. Sacramento’s defense came up clutch in forcing touch shots.
Sacramento had more points in the paint at 52-46.
The Kings will host the 6-14 Chicago Bulls on Monday at 7:00 p.m. PST. Chicago will be coming off a loss to Portland.