DENVER — After a lethargic first quarter that saw the Denver Nuggets shoot just 35 percent from the field, commit six turnovers and trail the Sacramento Kings by one, Denver responded with a second period where they outscored the Kings 25-16 which set the tone for a final two frames where the Nuggets cruised to a 96-79 over a fading Sacramento squad that had gone toe to toe with the Dallas Mavericks Friday night.
An extended halftime ceremony where the Nuggets honored the five players whose jerseys hang in the Pepsi Center rafters — Byron Beck, Alex English, David Thompson, Dan Issell and Dikembe Mutombo, along with legendary coach Doug Moe who’s 432 career victories are also recognized — led to Denver opening up a 13-point advantage on a Paul Millsap layup with under five minutes to go in the third quarter. The Nuggets never looked back.
Millsap, whose pairing with Nikola Jokic in the Nuggets’ frontcourt has been a work-in-progress throughout Denver’s training camp and preseason, turned in his best game in a Nuggets’ uniform. The 32-year-old scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and played a well-rounded game on both ends of the floor.
However, Jokic struggled. The big man went scoreless in the first half on just two field goal attempts and finished with zero points. He was still able to grab nine rebounds, hand out seven assists and finished a game-high +21 in typical Jokic fashion. Kenneth Faried also had a strong game and turned the night’s momentum during his second-quarter stint. Faried finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.