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DENVER, CO - JANUARY 07: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets shoots over Alex Len #25 of the Sacramento Kings at Ball Arena on January 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
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Rocky Mountain Low: Jokic, Nuggets Rout Sacramento

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

The Kings have lost three-straight games and are now nine games under the .500 mark

The cycle continues.

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets enjoyed a 121-111 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night in front of a joyous crowd at Ball Arena.

With the loss, Sacramento falls to a season-high nine games under the .500 mark and have lose three-straight games.

The NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player made his presence known early on Friday as Nikola Jokic scored eight points and dished out three assists in the first quarter to lead Denver to a 35-23 lead entering the second period.

Sacramento went on a 7-0 run to open up the second to get themselves to within five points for what seemed like a millisecond before the Nuggets answered with a 15-2 run of their own to take an 18-point advantage.

Denver led by as many as 20 points during the second quarter, but De’Aaron Fox scored seven points over the final three minutes of action to cut the deficit to 66-54 at the halftime break. After allowing the Nuggets to shoot 62-percent from the field and 47-percent from three-point range in the first half, the fact that Sacramento was able to control the damage and keep things within a dozen was a victory in itself.

Fox scored 14 points over 18 minutes in the first half to help keep the Kings from falling completely out of this one before the third quarter even began.

In a shocking twist of events, the Kings were the team to open up the third quarter with a big run as Tyrese Haliburton’s triple capped off a 12-3 run over the first three minutes of action to reduce the Nuggets lead to 70-66.

Jokic put on an offensive display in the quarter to put his team back up by 15 points, but Fox and the Kings would not go away as Sacramento kept the game within reach at 96-85 entering the fourth.

Sacramento laid down in the fourth quarter as longtime veteran forward Jeff Green and the Nuggets put the game away within the first two minutes of the final period as Denver stretched it’s lead to 108-87.

What more can you say about the 2021-22 Sacramento Kings?

Aside from a strong stretch of play at the end of the second quarter that lasted into the start of the third, there was no bright spot for the Kings on Friday night. Denver dominated the paint. Nikola Jokic did whatever he wanted on offense. Jeff Green exploded for a massive game off of the bench. The Kings surrendered 70 points in the paint.

“If you allow 70 points in the paint, you aren’t going to win that game,” Sacramento interim head coach said postgame of Denver’s huge night in the key (outscored the Kings 70-44 in the paint).

How many more of these games can we take in before change finally arrives? What do we need to witness from this team that we do not already understand?

The NBA season is halfway over. 41 games down, 41 games to go.

If you were to describe the first half of this season, how would you do so? Disappointing? Expected? Underwhelming? All of the above?

There truly isn’t much left to say about this team that hasn’t already been said this season. Changes need to happen to this roster or else the cycle will continue.

It really is as simple as that.

Quick Stats

De’Aaron Fox topped the 20-point mark for the fourth-consecutive game as the guard scored 28 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists during the loss. Fox has looked more like his 2020-21 self over the past four games as the 24-year-old is averaging 28.5 points per contest.

It’s the fourth time in Fox’s career that he has scored 30 points in three-straight games.

Alex Len established a new Kings career-high with 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds over 28 minutes.

Injury Updates

Kings guard Terence Davis missed his fifth-straight game due to ankle soreness.

Davis was listed as questionable prior to tip-off, but the 24-year-old was ruled out shortly before tip-off on Friday. Davis is considered day-to-day going forward.

Richaun Holmes entered COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols on Saturday afternoon. Holmes will be able to return to basketball activities after registering successive negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart.

The 28-year-old center has struggled to get back into a rhythm after suffering two separate injuries to his right eye in late November and early December. After missing 10 of 14 games, Holmes has averaged 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game over just 22.0 minutes per game, well below his season-averages of 12.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 26.1 minutes per game.

Chimezie Metu entered COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols just a few hours before action tipped off on Tuesday afternoon. Like Holmes, Metu will be able to return to action after registering successive negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart.

Coming Up

Another back-to-back?

Yup.

The Kings will play the first game of a road-home back-to-back on Sunday night when they face a shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers team that will be without star guard Damian Lillard (abdomen).

Sacramento has already claimed a season series victory after defeating the Blazers in October’s season-opener and most recently on November 24th a Golden 1 Center as Marvin Bagley III’s late triple sealed a 125-121 Kings win.

You can find all of your Kings vs Blazers coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 4:30pm PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner prior to a 6:00pm PST tip-off from Portland, Oregon.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • January 9th @ Portland Trail Blazers
  • January 10th vs Cleveland Cavaliers
  • January 12th vs Los Angeles Lakers
  • January 14th vs Houston Rockets
  • January 16th vs Houston Rockets

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