Harrison Barnes scored 28 points as the host Sacramento Kings defeated the shorthanded Denver Nuggets 119-114 on Saturday despite Nikola Jokic’s career-high 50 points.
The Kings have won all three meetings this season against the Nuggets and continued their recent hot stretch, winning for the sixth time in their past seven games. Denver has lost three of its past four.
Jokic shot 20 of 33 from the field and carried the load for Denver, which was without Jamal Murray, who sat out with left-knee soreness. Murray has averaged 19 points and 5.4 assists per game.
Jokic’s big scoring night also came with 12 assists and eight rebounds.
The Nuggets also were without Gary Harris (left adductor strain), who missed his second consecutive game, and P.J. Dozier (right hamstring strain) for the fifth game in a row.
Monte Morris started for Murray and finished with 11 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Paul Millsap finished with 14 points, Will Barton 11 and JaMychal Green 10.
The Kings were too much to handle with a balanced scoring effort. Four players scored 21 or more points.
Rookie Tyrese Haliburton, the Western Conference’s rookie of the month for December/January, continued his impressive breakthrough with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
De’Aaron Fox finished with 24 points and five assists, while Richaun Holmes posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Barnes was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, adding seven rebounds and four assists.
Buddy Hield went 0-for-7 from the field over the first three quarters but made his first basket early in the fourth quarter, and Haliburton followed with a 3-pointer to push Sacramento’s lead to double digits for the first time at 92-81 with 10:51 remaining.
Hield did not make a 3-pointer, going 0-for-9 from long range and snapping a streak of 87 consecutive games with a triple.
Hield did make 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to help seal the outcome.
Kings center Hassan Whiteside left the game with 6:40 remaining after he was hit on the top of the head by Jokic as Denver’s center took a swipe at his shot near the basket.
–Field Level Media