The Sacramento Kings go for their third win in a row and second straight against former head coach Michael Malone and his young Denver Nugget team. This time they’ll have to leave the friendly confines of Sleep Train Arena and battle the elevation in the Mile High city.
This is the first game of a road-and-home back-to-back for Sacramento. They return to Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night to face the 47-9 San Antonio Spurs who have already arrived in Sacramento and will be well rested.
Like Sacramento, Denver is clinging to their playoff hopes. They currently sit a game and a half behind the Kings for the tenth best record in the west and they trail the eighth place Houston Rockets by five and a half. The Nuggets have lost two straight and they are just 11-16 on their home floor this season.
[HAM: Locker room leader Malone the one that got away for Kings]
Nuggets by 1.5
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 23-31, third place in Pacific
Nuggets: 22-34, fourth place in Northwest
MATCHUP TO WATCH
DeMarcus Cousins vs. the Nuggets 3-headed hydra -- Cousins tore through the Nuggets on Friday night, dropping in 37 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in the Kings’ win. Nikola Jokic picked up four fouls in less than four minutes of action and Jusuf Nurkic picked up another five fouls in 14 minutes off the Denver bench. With his fellow bigs riding the pine, Joffrey Lauvergne scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 25 minutes.
Kings: PG Rajon Rondo (turf toe) probable, Ben McLemore (right wrist) probable.
Nuggets: F Wilson Chandler (hip) out for the season, Jameer Nelson (wrist) out.
This is the second of three matchups between these two teams this season, with the Kings coming away with the 116-110 victory on Friday night. The Nuggets hold a 86-84 advantage over the Kings overall and the two teams are tied at 61-61 lead during the Sacramento-era.
“We’ve struggled defensively all year long. We’ve had some time to break things down and coaches had time off a little bit just to look at film and come back with better tendencies and better schemes. I feel like we’re (moving) in the right direction.” -Omri Casspi on having some extra practice time