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Streaking Nuggets overcome 20-point hole vs. Kings

Dec 27, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) receives a pass during the second quarter against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (22) at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. scored 30 points, and the visiting Denver Nuggets rallied from 20 down to beat the Sacramento Kings 113-106 on Tuesday night.

Jamal Murray had 25 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 11 for the Nuggets, who have won five straight.

De’Aaron Fox scored 26, Kevin Huerter had 21, Harrison Barnes finished with 13 and Keegan Murray and Trey Lyles added 11 each for Sacramento.

Kings coach Mike Brown was placed in health and safety protocol early Tuesday and assistant Jordi Fernandez led the team. Sacramento also was without center Domantas Sabonis, who has an avulsion fracture in his right thumb.

Denver’s Aaron Gordon was a late scratch with a right shoulder injury, and Bruce Brown suffered a sprained ankle in the first half and did not return.

The Kings used a 19-4 stretch to take a 39-22 lead in the second quarter, and the advantage grew to 20 on a 3-pointer by Huerter. Porter scored 10 of 19 first-half points in the final 6:21 to help Denver get within 56-47 at intermission.

Sacramento led by 11 early in the third when the Nuggets rallied behind Jokic, who scored 10 points in a 14-6 run that cut the Kings’ lead to 66-63. Sacramento went up 70-65, but Jokic hit a jumper and fed Vlatko Cancar for a layup to make it 70-69 midway through.

The lead seesawed between four and two the rest of the quarter and the Kings went into the fourth with an 83-79 advantage.

Bones Hyland and Cancar hit 3-pointers early in the fourth to get Denver within one again, and Murray’s layup with 9:24 left gave the Nuggets their first lead since early in the game.

Fox hit a 3-pointer to put Sacramento ahead 90-87, but Porter and Cancar hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Denver a 95-92 lead. Malik Monk tied it with two free throws with 3:28 left, but Porter and Murray hit 3-pointers and Murray had a steal and layup to make it 104-96 with 2:18 left.

–Field Level Media