Turkoglu scored a career-high 31 points as the Sacramento Kings
beat Denver 118-82, sending the Nuggets to their seventh straight
loss Thursday night.
Stojakovic sat out because of an injured hamstring. In his
place, Turkoglu was 12-for-15 from the field in a rare start. The
Kings are 25-5 when he scores in double figures.
"Peja is a good scorer, probably one of the leading scorers on
the team, and today I tried to do the same things as him, to
rebound and score," said Turkoglu, in his second year. "I had to
step it up and play as a starter."
In a warmup to Sunday's home game against the Lakers, Sacramento
appeared ready for the showdown. The Kings have the NBA's best
record at 49-19 and are 32-3 at home, also a league best.
"Are they ready for us?" center Vlade Divac said when asked if
the Kings were ready for the Lakers. "We've been playing some good
basketball the last couple weeks. Everything is in our hands."
Sacramento swept the Nuggets in four games this season, beating
them by an average of 22 points.
George McCloud led Denver with 15 points, and Zendon Hamilton
had 14 for the Nuggets, who shot just 32 percent from the field
(29-90). They just didn't have enough ways of stopping Turkoglu.
"We knew Hedo could play," Nuggets forward Calbert Cheaney
said. "With a team like them, any player can step up. Everybody is
so good offensively and he has got great game."
The 36-point margin of victory tied the Kings' largest this
season, also done against Denver on Feb. 1 and Houston last Nov.
"It's frustrating," Nuggets coach Mike Evans said. "We're
playing teams that are in the playoff hunt and they see us as a
chance to win the ballgame and improve their chances in the
With the Kings ahead 94-66 after three quarters, Sacramento fans
began chanting "Beat L.A." before the fourth quarter began.
Trailing 32-18 with 3:04 left in the first quarter, the Nuggets
went on a 13-2 run to pull within three, their closest margin for
the game. Christie and Scot Pollard followed with baskets to spark
the Kings' 13-3 run, making it 47-34. After winning the tip, the
Kings took a 13-0 lead, with Turkoglu scoring nine points.
Doug Christie left the game in the third quarter with a bruised
right knee after tripping over a photographer.
The Nuggets placed forward Antonio McDyess on the injured
list because of inflammation in his left knee and activated forward
Chris Andersen. ... Turkoglu scored 15 of his 31 points in the
first quarter on 6-for-7 shooting. ... The Kings are 26-0 when
leading after first quarter at home. ... Sacramento's Bobby Jackson
received a standing ovation with 5:57 left in the second quarter
when he grabbed Voshon Lenard's layup attempt above the rim and
threw it to the court.