SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings have very little margin for error if they hope to get back in the playoff race. On Friday evening, they played sloppy, but they still managed to take care of business on their home floor, knocking off the Denver Nuggets by a final of 116-110.
Denver threw the kitchen sink at DeMarcus Cousins and it wasn’t enough. The Kings franchise player dropped in 37 points, 20 rebounds and picked up four blocks in 39 minutes of action.
Cousins was an absolute force on both ends of the court. The Nuggets' young bigs took turns sending the Kings' All-Star to the line, where he hit 12-for-15. On the downside, Cousins committed six of the Kings 22 turnovers on the night.
Rudy Gay came out hot from long range, dropping in his first four triples before the break. He finished the night with 24 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field.
Gay wasn’t the only Kings player to catch fire from the perimeter. Rajon Rondo hit 4-for-6 from deep and barely missed a triple-double, finishing the night with 24 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds night.
Lacking the scoring punch of both Omri Casspi and Marco Belinelli, Darren Collison continued his quality play off the Kings bench. The veteran point guard scored 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field to lead the second unit. Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein added 10 points on a perfect shooting night and grabbed three rebounds in 14 minutes.
Danilo Gallinari paced the Nuggets with 27 points on 6-for-10 shooting. With Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic riding the pine in foul trouble, big man Joffrey Lauvergne lit the Kings up for 22 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Will Barton added 17 points and seven rebounds and Gary Harris chipped in 14 for Denver who dropped to 22-33 on the season.
STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins was a beast, notching his 14th 30-point, 10-rebound performance of the season. The Nuggets had plenty of big bodies to send at him, but not one of them had a chance to slow the star center.
TURNING POINT -- The Kings looked determined from the start, but it took a late surge to put the feisty Nuggets away. With the game undecided in the final minute, the Nuggets resorted to the hack-a-Rondo approach and the veteran answered the call by knocking down 4-of-6 from the stripe in the final minute.
INJURY UPDATE -- Omri Casspi and Marco Belinelli both missed Friday’s game after undergoing oral surgery. They are both expected back in time for Tuesday’s rematch with the Nuggets.
WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets again on Tuesday evening.