Final
  for this game

Nuggets-Kings Preview

Dec 28, 2009 - 5:52 AM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

Denver (20-10) at Sacramento (13-16), 10:00 p.m. EDT

The Sacramento Kings aren't finding things easy against the best teams in the NBA, but they appear to have caught a huge break as they face another one.

The Kings host a third straight conference finalist from a season ago Monday night when they meet the Denver Nuggets, who will be without point guard Chauncey Billups.

Sacramento (13-16) has lost the first two contests of this four-game homestand in excruciating fashion, falling 117-104 in overtime to Cleveland on Wednesday and 112-103 in double overtime to the Lakers on Saturday.

"We are trying to still find it," forward Donte Greene said. "I guess we need to have composure and be able to execute. The 'we are young' excuse is kind of too played out now."

The Nuggets (20-11) have lost five straight on the road and won't have Billups, who is giving his strained left groin time to heal. Billups sat out Sunday's 104-96 home loss to Dallas, dropping Denver to 1-3 without him.

"When (Billups) is not there, it's a sigh of relief for the other team," star forward Carmelo Anthony said.

Billups injured the groin on Dec. 16 against Houston and sat out three straight games. The All-Star guard returned on Christmas Day at Portland, but didn't play in the second half.

The Nuggets said in an injury update report Sunday that the move was "not a setback" and the goal was to avoid a "lingering problem." Billups is averaging 17.1 points and 5.7 assists this season.

His absence means that rookies will be starting at point guard for both teams. Ty Lawson is expected to get his fourth start of the season for Denver.

Lawson will be matched up with Tyreke Evans, who is leading all rookies in scoring with 20.3 points per game and is second in assists with 4.9.

Evans, though, faded down the stretch in the loss to the Lakers. He finished with 18 points, scoring two after regulation and committing five turnovers overall.

"It was the worst game I have ever played in the NBA," Evans said. "We had the lead and we had a couple of bad plays down the stretch."

The Kings have not finished strong, getting outscored 13-0 in overtime against the Cavaliers and 18-2 after taking a seven-point lead in the first overtime against the Lakers.

"We stopped being aggressive," coach Paul Westphal said about Saturday's loss. "We started playing against the clock which is not what we want to do."

The Nuggets won three of four against the Kings last season, scoring 118 points in each victory.

Denver, though, shot a season-low 38.2 percent Sunday in its fourth loss in five games. Anthony, averaging a league-leading 29.9 points, fouled out for the first time this season with 16 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.

"I think we got too emotional at times and too frustrated at times with the refereeing, with the ball not going in, not shooting the ball very well, missing layups," coach George Karl said. "It seems like our emotional balance at times was too out of control."

Kenyon Martin had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Lawson scored 16 points.








  • NBA
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 32 16 22 31 101
    SACRAMENTO 26 21 28 31 106 FINAL

    HIGH SCORERS: DEN - CARMELO ANTHONY 34, NENE HILARIO 25,
    TY LAWSON 12
    SAC - ANDRES NOCIONI 21, DONTE GREENE 17,
    BENO UDRIH 17

    Dec 29 12:40 AM
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    Nuggets 96, Kings 97  4th - 1:45Dec 29 12:26 AM
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    Nuggets 94, Kings 92  4th - 3:01Dec 29 12:21 AM
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    Nuggets 91, Kings 92  4th - 3:56Dec 29 12:19 AM
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    Nuggets 89, Kings 92  4th - 4:53Dec 29 12:17 AM
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    Nuggets 88, Kings 92  4th - 5:19Dec 29 12:13 AM
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    Nuggets 78, Kings 81  4th - 8:53Dec 29 12:07 AM


  • NBA
    DENVER 70
    SACRAMENTO 75 END, 3RD QTR

    Dec 28 11:55 PM
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    Nuggets 62, Kings 61  3rd - 5:40Dec 28 11:38 PM


  • NBA
    DENVER 48
    SACRAMENTO 47 HALFTIME

    Dec 28 11:09 PM


  • NBA
    DENVER 32
    SACRAMENTO 26 END, 1ST QTR

    Dec 28 10:35 PM
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    det2009 Added 5 roots

    Nuggets vs. KingsDec 28 12:26 PM