On Monday night, the Denver Nuggets played some inspired basketball and gave the Golden State Warriors a run for their money. Now the question is, can they continue to play that type of basketball for multiple nights in a row?
Michael Malone is the head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Malone was with the Sacramento Kings for a brief stint in the 2013-14 season and started the 2014-15 season before being fired 24 games into the season – plenty of reason for the Nuggets to play some inspired ball on Tuesday as Malone has yet to win a game against his former team.
He remains winless as the Denver Nuggets came out flat and fell to the Sacramento Kings 120-113.
As if that wasn’t enough, Tuesday night the Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings were also squaring off in a meaningful game for both organizations as both found themselves with lots to play for.
Before the game, the Denver Nuggets were only a half a game out of the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoff race and guess who it was that held down the eighth seed? That’s right, the Sacramento Kings.
The Sacramento Kings are led on the court by center DeMarcus Cousins, who is having one of the most underrated seasons in quite some time. It’s a travesty that he hasn’t been mentioned in the MVP race. Cousins came into the game averaging 29 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Without Rudy Gay alongside the big man, Cousins didn’t put up his season average, but it was obvious who the ball would be going to almost every time down the floor: Cousins. He had himself another big game as he finished with 31 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
“We know they had a tough one last night and they were coming in here on the back end of a back-to-back. We felt like we had an advantage there,” Cousins said. “Denver is always a tough place to play, so we felt like we had to try and take advantage of them being fatigued.”
Darren Collison also contributed for Sacramento; he had 26 points and 7 assists.
The Nuggets have a different approach, as there is not a superstar-caliber player that leads them. There is more of a balanced approach as six players average over 10 points per game for the year.
The Nuggets again found that balance in the game as six players scored over 10 points but couldn’t find a way to win the game.
Danilo Gallinari was the Nuggets leading scorer as he finished with 24 points.
Jusuf Nurkic also had 16 points and played some productive minutes as he tried his best to limit Cousins.
Interesting Things of Note:
If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years and just surfaced and decided to take a look at the rosters of the Nuggets vs. the Kings you’d surely be confused.
On the Nuggets side, they are coached by Michael Malone who was formerly with the Kings.
The Kings have 15 players on the roster, three which played for the Nuggets.
Aaron Afflalo had 19 points. Kosta Koufus finished with a season high of 18 points and Ty Lawson didn’t play.
The Denver Nuggets will get a day of rest before they host a game at Pepsi Center on Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio has won eight of their last ten games.