Kleiza helps Nuggets splatter KingsJan 21, 2009 - 6:12 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets sputtered at the start before zooming by the Sacramento Kings, 118-99, on Tuesday.
Linas Kleiza had a team-high 27 points and Chauncey Billups scored 16 of his 22 points in the third quarter for Denver.
Kevin Martin paced the Kings with 25 points.
Trailing 31-23 after the first 12 minutes, the Nuggets hit high gear and blitzed the Kings in the second and third quarters. After posting a 34-16 advantage to take a 57-47 lead at the break, Denver didn't let up and rolled to a 94-75 lead after three.
The icing came when Kris Andersen threw down a reverse dunk off an alley-oop from Anthony Carter to make it 105-79 early in the final quarter.
"Chris has been telling me that I haven't been throwing him any lobs and I tried to throw him one earlier but the ball slipped, but I finally got him one and he was able to put it down," Carter said.
The start didn't give any indication of the finish as Sacramento played Denver even before closing the first quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 31-23 advantage. The surge was quick as Bobby Jackson hit a shot from beyond the arc and Francisco Garcia add a 3-point shot and free throw to give the Kings brief control of the contest.
"It was our second game of a back-to-back and we kind of came out a little sleepy," Kleiza said. "But we did a good job picking up, we picked up our defense and they missed a lot of shots and we were able to run, so that was the difference.
"Every time I am on the court I see it as an opportunity but it is all about winning games and me and J.R. (Smith) are a part of it now and that's great."
A layup by Carter off an assist by J.R. Smith gave Denver the lead at 37-36 and the Nuggets never looked back.
Billups picked up assists on a dunk by Smith and layup by Kleiza to make it 52-42.
"We just can't let stuff like that happen," Kings rookie Jason Thompson said. "They are up 10 at half and that's a 20-point swing. We can't have stuff like that and expect to win the game."
Kings coach Kenny Natt was exasperated.
"We did one thing I asked them to do, which was to get off to a better start," the interim coach said. "We got off to a better start tonight, we won the first quarter 31-23 then ... all hell broke loose"
"We lost our focus, gave up a lot of easy baskets, didn't get back in transition. They had 37 fast-break points and 56 in the paint, which is a lot of points.
"We obviously have a long way to go."
DENVER 118 FINAL
Jan 20 11:30 PM
DENVER 94 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 20 10:57 PM
DENVER 57 HALFTIME
Jan 20 10:15 PM
DENVER 23 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 20 9:39 PM
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