The last time the Denver Nuggets came to Sleep Train Arena, they were playing their first game in a new system under a new head coach against a rabid group of fans celebrating the fact their city still had an NBA team to root for.
The Sacramento Kings beat the Denver Nuggets on opening night, Oct. 30, 90-88. Fast forward almost three months and you’ll find the Nuggets are making some progress integrating their new ways. They scored at least 30 points in every quarter Sunday night in a 125-117 win over the patchwork Kings.
Sacramento (15-28) led 31-30 after one quarter, but the Nuggets (22-21) rallied to take a 65-59 lead into the locker room.
Denver still held a 95-93 edge entering the fourth, but sort of ran out of gas, never getting closer than five points over the final 3:47 of the game.
Ty Lawson paced the Nuggets with 27 points. Wilson Chandler added 20, Kenneth Faried logged 15 points and 11 rebounds, Timofey Mozgov scored 14 points and Randy Foye and Nate Robinson each tossed in 12, while Robinson also dished out eight assists. J.J. Hickson notched 10 rebounds.
Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 22 points and eight assists, but was just 7-for-21 from the floor. Marcus Thornton added 19 points, Ben McLemore re-emerged from a lengthy slump to score 18, Jason Thompson had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Williams tossed in 12 points and Travis Outlaw notched 10.
Both teams were 42-for-81 (51.9 percent) from the floor, but Denver was 10-for-25 (40 percent) from deep and 31-for-40 (77.5 percent) from the foul line. Sacramento was 4-for-16 (25 percent) and 29-for-34 (85.3 percent).
The Kings won the boards 41-37, but the Nuggets powered their way to a 58-48 edge in the paint and a 33-23 advantage on the fast-break. Sacramento did have a 15-7 edge in second-chance opportunities. Denver scored 22 points off 16 Kings turnovers, while Sacramento got 16 points off 12 Nuggets miscues.
The Kings hit the road Monday night, visiting Utah at 6 p.m. Pacific.