The Denver Nuggets didn’t need Sunday season finale against the visiting Sacramento Kings, and they wisely took advantage of the opportunity to rest their starters. MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, guards Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, forwards Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon all took the day off, and in the first half, the Kings’ starters carved out a 67-59 halftime lead. Both teams went with their benches for the second half, however, and the Nuggets dominated from that point forward, holding Sacramento to a mere 28 points after halftime on their way to a 109-95 victory that wrapped up the Nuggets’ first-ever season atop the Western Conference.

Bruce Brown led the Nuggets with 21 points, but Denver finished with seven different players in double-figures in what turned out to be a laugher.

“To outscore them 83-52 after the first quarter with a lot of guys that haven’t played much this year was fun to watch,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the game. “Bruce was begging to go back in the game. I said, ‘You’re not going back in the game. Sorry.’ That’s a great problem to have.” Denver had lost five of their last six games prior to Sunday’s win over the Kings – a stretch in which the Nuggets’ lead for the top-seed was never challenged, and Malone had taken the opportunity to rest starters as often as possible. The slump has raised concerns about the team’s readiness for the postseason, but its worth noting that the team hasn’t needed to sell out for a victory for a the majority of that time. “It felt great [to win Sunday],” Malone said. “I did not want to have the stench of losing another game for a whole week.”

As the top seed, the Nuggets will face the second team to qualify through the play-in tournament that starts on Tuesday. Were the seeds to hold as they are today, that would be the Minnesota Timberwolves, who appear to have imploded following an hand injury to Jaden McDaniels, and a subsequent fight on the sideline that ended with the Timberwolves having to escort star center Rudy Gobert off the court after fighting with a teammate. Nevertheless, the Timberwolves did defeat the New Orleans Pelicans, who will now face the Oklahoma City Thunder for the right to play the loser of the Timberwolves-Los Angeles Lakers game. The Nuggets cannot face the winner of that contest.

Rookie Christian Braun had his third consecutive game with 10 or more points; scoring exactly that Sunday to go along with a pair of rebounds, as his status as a major cog in Malone’s rotation appears to be solidified. Brown’s certainly is, but performances by Zeke Nnaji (18 points, seven rebounds off the bench), Reggie Jackson (16 points, four assists and a team-best +21), rookie Peyton Watson (13 points, four rebounds) and veteran point guard Ish Smith (nine assists, two rebounds and steal off the bench) might give Malone pause regarding whom he can trust when the postseason begins. “Ish really got us going in the first quarter,” Brown explained. “He was like, ‘We’re not here to lose.’”