Kings Overcome 17-Point Hole, Defeat Denver in Overtime
After a four game road trip and a two day Thanksgiving break, the Sacramento Kings returned to the Golden 1 Center for a rematch against the Denver Nuggets, who defeated Sacramento back in October. The Kings appeared to still be shaking off the turkey and gravy from Thursday’s feast, but managed to overcome a 17-point Denver lead and defeat the Nuggets 100-97 in overtime.
Sacramento managed just 40 points in the first half against Denver’s elite defense, and had no answer for Gary Harris, who scored 18 points in the first quarter. However, the 3rd quarter, that has haunted the Kings the season, is what got Sacramento back in the game, outscoring the Nuggets 27-18 through that stretch. The solid defense would carry into the 4th quarter, where the Kings only allowed 15 Denver points.
“Holding that team to 32 in the 2nd half is something to be proud of,” said Kings head coach Luke Walton.
“They were out husting us in the first half. Uncharacteristic for us. In the 2nd half we came out with an attack mentality…” added Cory Joseph.
Joseph was instrumental in the Kings forcing overtime and winning the game, partnering with center Richaun Holmes for this huge defensive stop at the end of regulation.
Holmes took very little time giving Joseph the credit after the game, “Cory was into the ball. It was a representation of what he means to this team on defense. I was able to come over, get a block, and send it to overtime”.
“When we are working as hard as we have been working it’s nice to reward the guys with how good it feels to win. It’s also a great tool to learn…” said Walton.
Harrison Barnes played 45 minutes tonight, leading the Kings in scoring with a season-high 30 points. Barnes also got to the free throw line 10 of Sacramento’s 21 times.
“He approaches the game or practice every day the same way. He is an ultimate professional,” said Joseph.
“Tonight he showed again why he is so important on both ends of the floor,” added Walton.
The Kings are now tied with the Phoenix Suns for the 8th seed in the Western Conference and will host the Chicago Bulls in Sacramento on Monday.
Obviously pleased with his team’s performance, Coach Walton wants to make sure the guys still stay focused and continue to grow with each game, “Our guys should feel good but we are playing on our home court. We should expect to win games. We feel like we have a group that can win every night.”