Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/1

Game 1: Saturday, January 1st
Kings86Final
Nuggets104
Game 2: Thursday, January 6th
Nuggets102Final
Kings122
Game 3: Wednesday, March 30th
Kings90Final
Nuggets104
Game 4: Friday, April 1st
Nuggets99Final
Kings90

Kings 90

(21-53, 11-26 away)

Nuggets 104

(45-29, 31-7 home)

    Coverage: ALT

    9:00 PM ET, March 30, 2011

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    SAC 28 23 20 1990
    DEN 20 21 33 30104

    Top Performers

    Sacramento: T. Evans 22 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast

    Denver: Nene 12 Pts, 15 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    Streaking Nuggets pull away from Kings to strengthen hold on 5th

    Associated Press

    DENVER -- Five days of rust couldn't derail the streaking Denver Nuggets.

    Ty Lawson scored 20 points, J.R. Smith and Danilo Gallinari had 17 each and the Nuggets overcame a sluggish start to beat the surging Sacramento Kings 104-90 on Wednesday night.

    Al Harrington scored 15 and Nene had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight and increased their lead over Portland to 2½ games for the fifth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. The Trail Blazers lost at New Orleans on Wednesday.

    It wasn't a pretty win Wednesday. Denver enjoyed a five-day break between games, but it seemed to take away the team's sharpness.

    "We got used to playing against each other instead of playing against everybody else," Smith said. "We were rusty out there."

    The Nuggets are 13-4 since the blockbuster trade with New York in large part because of their ability to share the ball. But, in the first half, they had only seven assists and shot 37 percent from the field.

    It was apparent the layoff had an impact.

    "Sometimes that can be a good thing if you're struggling. But we weren't struggling, so it made us sluggish," guard Raymond Felton said of the break. "We can't complain about that now because we have no days off."

    The Kings were on the second game of a back-to-back, but held the lead for most of the game on the strength of their guards. Marcus Thornton scored 27 and Tyreke Evans had 22 off the bench for the Kings, whose four-game win streak was snapped.

    Thornton is averaging 22.4 points a game since coming to the Kings in a trade with New Orleans.

    "Thornton is legit. He's changed the way our team is," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said.

    The game was close for most of the second half before the Nuggets took control in the fourth. With Denver leading 80-79, Gallinari's dunk, Lawson's jumper and consecutive 3-pointers from Gallinari and Felton gave Denver a 94-83 lead with 3:09 left.

    "We were down the whole game and when we got the lead we were determined to keep the lead," Felton said.

    Denver scored on eight of its last nine possessions.

    "They started making plays and we kind of ran out of gas," Thornton said. "We did play Phoenix last night. They are an up and down team and this team is the same way."

    The Kings led 57-49 early in the third when the Nuggets rallied to get even. A three-point play by Gallinari, a 3-pointer from Wilson Chandler and a jumper by Lawson tied it. Harrington's fast-break dunk midway through the period gave Denver a 59-57 lead, its first of the game.

    "We've got to keep doing what we do well, and usually that means Ty and Raymond pushing us and keep attacking the rim," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Their defense wore out a bit and we got to the rim."

    The Nuggets lead the NBA in scoring at 107.7 points a game, but sputtered to start Wednesday. They were 1 for 6 from the field and the foul line and had just five points more than halfway through the first quarter and trailed by 11.

    The Nuggets rallied behind their bench, which gave them a spark and got them within 32-31 early in the second quarter. Sacramento responded with a 15-5 run, capped by Thornton's fourth 3-pointer of the half, to stretch the lead to 47-36.

    The Kings led 51-41 at halftime.

    Game notes


    Denver F Kenyon Martin left in the first quarter with the flu and did not return. ... The Nuggets have won 10 straight at home. ... Nuggets G Arron Afflalo sat out his fourth straight game while nursing a strained left hamstring. He is expected to return to the lineup when the Nuggets play the Kings in Sacramento on Friday. ... The Kings have more wins on the road (11) than they do at home (10).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SAC
    DEN
    Points 90 104
    FGM-FGA 36-79 (.456) 38-81 (.469)
    3PM-3PA 6-21 (.286) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 12-16 (.750) 22-32 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-35 11-43
    Assists 25 21
    Turnovers 20 15
    Steals 7 11
    Blocks 4 7
    Fast Break Points 12 24
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 15 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 13 14

    Top Performers

    Sacramento
    Denver
    Tyreke Evans Evans
    Points: 22
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Nene null null
    Points: 12
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 3