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The Kings come close but alas no cigar as they lose to Denver 101-94

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October 30, 2019 - 10:16 am
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By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

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The Sacramento Kings (0-4) may have played their best game of the young 2019-20 season on Monday night against the Denver Nuggets (3-0), but they came up short at the end of the game losing 101-94. Veteran NBA fans would say they came close but didn’t get to light the cigar (for the younger fans there will be an explanation of that visual at the end of this story).

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This reporter is usually very skeptical when he hears coaches use phrases like: “Very pleased with the effort we got tonight” when it comes after his team has suffered a loss. Yet, that is exactly what Luke Walton had to say about his team after they lost their fourth consecutive game of the season to the Denver Nuggets.

“That’s why we stressed – and a point made – that we become a team that can compete on defense, so when we have an off-shooting night like we did tonight, you still have a chance to win the game. I thought we played a really competitive game …” said Kings Head Coach Luke Walton after the contest.

The 3rd quarter did the Kings in again

After taking 53-47 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Kings came out early to get ready to the third quarter. The third quarter has been the team’s downfall in each of their previous three games.

Denver scored 14 Points in the Paint to the Kings 6. The Nuggets also won the battle of 2nd Chance Points 7-1.

The Nuggets outscored the Kings 30-17 in the third period to take a 77-70 lead into the final quarter. Sacramento would never regain the lead in the game. The third quarter “jinx” had struck again.

Spotlight on Sacramento

A new star emerged for the Kings in this game. Forward Richaun Holmes – who was signed as a free agent in the off-season – had a breakout game. He recorded a double-double scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Holmes hit 10 of 14 shots from the field and converted 4 of 6 opportunities from the free throw line.

Coach Luke Walton was quick to point out that Holmes was not forcing his opportunities to score. He was receiving passes from other players who were covered and converting those chances into scores.

Kings co-stars

  • De’Aaron Fox put 20 points in the book along with nine rebounds. He shot 7-for-17 from the floor and hit 3 of 9 from behind the 3-point line.
  • The other big surprise of the night was the play of Trevor Ariza. Ariza had a real impact in the first half when he came off the bench to score nine points – all on three 3-point baskets. He provided a spark that management had been hoping he would bring to the team when then they signed the veteran forward.
  • Buddy Hield scored only five points but had a strong night on defense. Luke Walton pointed out how well his star shooting guard played on defense. Walton was not worried about Hield having an off-night shooting (2-for-13). He said that those nights happen to all players.

Sacramento team numbers

  • After shooting over 50% at one point, the Kings finished the shooting 39.6% (36-for-91) from the floor.
  • Sacramento shot over 50% from 3-point land in the first half but finished the game shooting just 32.4% (12-for-37) from long range.
  • The Kings only went to the free throw line 16 times (the number should be much closer to 30) and hit only 10 of those shots (62.5%).
  • The Nuggets outrebounded the Kings 54-48 which resulted in Denver winning the battle of 2nd Chance Points 20-10.

Focus on Denver

The Nuggets did not play a beautiful game. They shot just 36.7% (36-for-98) as team. In fact, they were able to hang in the game in the first half by just tossing up a high volume of shots. Denver hit just 10 of 36 shots (27.8%) from 3-point range. They were brilliant from the free throw line where they converted 19 of 21 chances (90.5%).

  • Jamal Murray led the Nuggets in scoring with 18 points.
  • Gary Harris added 17 points hitting 3 of 4 shots from downtown.
  • Nikola Jokic scored nine points and hauled in 13 rebounds.
  • Mason Plumlee came off the bench to score 10 points and grab seven rebounds.

That’s a large human --

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Up next

The Kings will watch video and have a light workout to get ready for the 1-3 Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night. The Hornets lost to the Clippers 101-94 on Monday night.

The Nuggets return home on Tuesday night to host the Dallas Mavericks.

No Cigar explained

Red Auerbach may have the greatest coach and executive in NBA history. He was the coach of the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1966 and won nine NBA championships. Auerbach also won seven championships as an executive.

As a coach whenever his Celtics held a lead that assured, they would win, Red would pull out a cigar, and light it up to indicate the game was over. Yes, he would smoke on the sidelines of NBA game inside the arena. If his team was losing or the game was close, there would be – no cigar! So, now you know.

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