Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/17/12
SACRAMENTO -- The Denver Nuggets dominated from start to finish Sunday afternoon and got plenty of rest to boot as they cruised to a 122-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings before an announced crowd 13,327 at Sleep Train Arena. "Our defense was solid from the very beginning, and it made them miss a lot of shots," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Our best game is playing fast. I think our defense motivated (the up-tempo style), and in the second half we made more shots." Six Nuggets reached double-figure scoring, while none of Denver's players saw more than 28 minutes of action. Reserve center JaVale McGee led the Nuggets (13-12) with 19 points, and while Danilo Gallinari followed closely behind with 18. Denver's 122 points represented a season high. "It was good for us to have a game like this, to get the lead and sustain it throughout the game," said Nuggets guard Andre Iguodala, who had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. "We continued to play solid basketball, not relax, and respect the game." Denver has played a league-high 18 road games. "It's good for us to go through this stretch," Iguodala said. "We play at a high level and mentally be tough, it's going to help us once we get to the better schedule, per se, when we are playing a lot at home." Sacramento (7-16) was led by backup point guard Isaiah Thomas, who scored 20 points. Starting center DeMarcus Cousins scored 19, and Kings forward Jason Thompson added 16 points and 10 rebounds. "That was a horror story," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "The game was decided very, very early on. We knew this team would run, and we had to play a real solid game. It was a bad, bad loss for us." Denver shot nearly 60 percent through most of the contest and held a 30-point advantage throughout much of the second half. The Nuggets' biggest lead was 34 points, while the Kings led once, by two points. The Nuggets' superior athleticism and teamwork were too much for the Kings to handle. Denver, which leads the league in points in the paint, outscored Sacramento 64-38 in that category. The Nuggets got whatever they wanted at the offensive end and prevented the Kings from doing anything offensively. Among Denver's starters, only Kenneth Faried failed to reach double-figure scoring. The 7-foot McGee used his length and jumping ability to bring his reserve teammates to their feet in celebration. He scored 19 points in 21 minutes. Of his seven made field goals, five were dunks. However, it was the ease with which he scored that was so impressive. Sacramento had difficulty penetrating Denver's perimeter defense, much less scoring around the basket. It didn't help when swingman Tyreke Evans left late in the first quarter with a sore left knee. Evans, who has been troubled for the past three weeks with the same ailment, did not return. He is day-to-day. Kings shooting guard Marcus Thornton missed his third consecutive game due to his mother's illness. The Kings play Monday at Phoenix, and Sacramento guard Aaron Brooks hopes things get better. "That was a very, very long game," Brooks said. "We put ourselves in a bad position to start the game, and when a team gets rolling, then can pile it on. "You want to have all the pieces you practice with. We know Tyreke is going through some issues right now with his knee. We hope to get him back, but we've just got to play harder. I just think we were slow on everything. I hope we get angry and be responsible, take responsibility for the way we played offense and defense and see our energy level. We definitely didn't have that today." NOTES: Thomas scored 23 points in the fourth quarter Friday night at Oklahoma City, falling two points short of matching the Kings' franchise record for most points scored in a quarter. Mitch Richmond had a 25-point quarter on Dec. 15, 1995, during a 47-point performance at Houston. ... The Nuggets are the first team since the 1985-86 Chicago Bulls to begin the season playing 17 of their first 23 games on the road. ... Karl remains wary of the Los Angeles Lakers. "I haven't seen them with (injured point guard) Steve Nash. I still believe Nash has a bit of magic left in him. I think he has the ability to make teams better than they really are. And if he can do that with that team, then I think we're all I trouble," Karl said.
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