Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Saturday, December 6th
Nuggets118Final
Kings85
Game 2: Tuesday, January 20th
Kings99Final
Nuggets118
Game 3: Sunday, March 8th
Nuggets106Final
Kings114
Game 4: Monday, April 13th
Kings98Final
Nuggets118

Kings 99

(10-32, 3-18 away)

Nuggets 118

(28-15, 17-6 home)

    Coverage: CSNS

    9:00 PM ET, January 20, 2009

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    SAC 31 16 28 2499
    DEN 23 34 37 24118

    Top Performers

    Sacramento: K. Martin 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Denver: J. Smith 19 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Stl

    Kleiza scores 27, Billups 22 as Nuggets lead by as many as 30 in fourth quarter

    Associated Press

    DENVER -- With Carmelo Anthony sidelined with a broken bone in his right hand, the Denver Nuggets needed somebody to fill the void.

    Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith are doing their best to make up for the All-Star's absence.

    Kleiza scored 27 points, Smith had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists and the Denver Nuggets used strong second and third quarters to beat the Sacramento Kings 118-99 on Tuesday night.

    Fast Facts

    • Denver moved to 14-2 when holding opponents under 100 points.

    • Anthony Carter had 10 assists off the bench, the most off the bench by a Nuggets player since Allen Iverson had 10 in his Nuggets debut in December 2006.

    • The Kings lost their 13th road game in their last 14 attempts despite Kevin Martin (25 points) having his 11th straight 20-point game.

    -- ESPN research

    Chauncey Billups had 22 points and Nene 13 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, which outscored the Kings 71-44 in the middle frames thanks to some strong play from Kleiza and Smith.

    "They were good offensively," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "L.K. was great and J.R. made some great passes."

    Anthony, who was injured against Indiana on Jan. 5, leads the Nuggets in scoring at 21.1 points a game. In the seven games since Anthony was hurt, Kleiza is averaging 15.3 points and Smith 15 and the Nuggets are 4-3.

    In Monday's loss at Houston, Smith had 17 points in the fourth quarter and led the team with 24. Kleiza had a team-high 26 in a loss to Orlando on Saturday.

    Despite those performances, Karl sees room for improvement.

    "The thing with both J.R. and L.K. is the turnovers and the defensive, cheap possessions they give you," Karl said. "Taking short cuts and getting caught. I thought J.R. had some great passes in the third quarter, but he also had some passes you just go, hmmm, interesting."

    They both played key roles in getting Denver back in the game.

    The Nuggets trailed by as many as 10 in the second quarter when Kleiza and Smith led the charge back. Kleiza had 11 points and Smith scored nine points when Denver outscored the Kings 19-4 over a 5:28 span to take a 43-38 lead.

    The Nuggets extended the lead to 48-42 on free throws by Billups and Nene, and then Smith's flying left-handed dunk and Kleiza's driving layup made it 52-42 with 2:30 left in the half. Denver pushed the lead to 12 before settling for a 57-45 lead at the half.

    "We kind of struggled in the first quarter a little bit," Kleiza said. "We did a good job in the second quarter, we played great defense, got on the fast break and that was the difference."

    Kevin Martin led Sacramento with 25 points and rookie Jason Thompson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who fell behind by 30 in the fourth quarter.

    "Looked like lay-up drills for them," Kings guard Bobby Jackson said. "It was layup drill central, just like it has been all year."

    The Kings have lost three of their last four.

    "A bad, bad night for us, to say the least," Sacramento interim head coach Kenny Natt said. "We lost our focus and we gave up a lot of easy baskets, transition points. They got a lot of layups. We didn't defend hard and they took advantage of every opportunity that was there."

    The Nuggets put the game out of reach early in the third, going on a 17-4 run to start the half. Billups scored 16 points in the quarter as the Nuggets, who led by as many as 24, took a 94-75 lead into the fourth.

    "Great job by our bench," Billups said. "They won the game for us."

    The game was tight through the first quarter.

    Sacramento's Francisco Garcia hit a running 3-pointer from the top of the arc with .5 seconds left in the first quarter and was fouled by Martin. Garcia hit the free throw to complete the four-point play and give the Kings a 31-23 lead heading into the second quarter.

    Game notes


    Nuggets G Dahntay Jones separated his right shoulder in a collision during pregame workouts. X-rays showed there was no fracture of the clavicle, and he is day-to-day. ... Martin has scored 20 or more points in 11 straight games. The last time he didn't score 20 was when he had eight against Denver on Dec. 6 ... Nene's double-double was his 13th of the season, which is his single-season high. He had 12 in 2003-04.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SAC
    DEN
    Points 99 118
    FGM-FGA 35-82 (.427) 40-71 (.563)
    3PM-3PA 11-22 (.500) 3-14 (.214)
    FTM-FTA 18-22 (.818) 35-46 (.761)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-33 7-41
    Assists 23 28
    Turnovers 19 17
    Steals 6 12
    Blocks 2 6
    Fast Break Points 13 27
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 32 (0/0) 17 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 10 30

    Top Performers

    Sacramento
    Denver
    Kevin Martin Martin
    Points: 25
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    J.R. Smith Smith
    Points: 19
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0