Programming note: Nuggets-Kings coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California (territory restrictions apply) and streaming live right here.
The Kings (27-52) have shut down DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay for the remainder of the season due to injury, and have lost seven of eight games heading into Sunday’s contest at the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets (29-50) are coming off of a 144-143 double overtime loss to Dallas on Friday and have lost five of their last six games.
Sunday represents George Karl’s return to Denver since being jettisoned by the Nuggets. He was named the 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year and took the the franchise to the playoffs nine times in his eight and a half years in the Mile High City.
Denver has fallen on hard times since Karl’s departure, winning just 37 games last season and firing Brian Shaw last month with a 20-39 record before naming Melvin Hunt interim head coach.
Nuggets by 10
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Ty Lawson vs Ray McCallum -- Yet another tough assignment for McCallum, as Lawson leads Denver, averaging 15.5 points and 9.6 assists per game.
1. Perimeter play –- The Kings are clearly operating with a decimated frontcourt and guard play will be paramount.
2. Transition D –- Sacramento must protect the basket especially against the Nuggets.
3. Limit second chance opportunities –- Denver is in the top five in offensive rebounding and Sacramento has recently allowed New Orleans (16), Utah (14 and 13) and Oklahoma City (16) oodles of offensive boards.
Kings -- C DeMarcus Cousins (sore right foot), F Rudy Gay (concussion), G Darren Collison (core muscle injury) and F Eric Moreland (left shoulder labral tear) are out.
F Reggie Evans (right thumb sprain) is doubtful and G Nik Stauskas (mid back strain) is probable.
Nuggets -- G Erick Green (left shoulder strain) is questionable while, F Darrell Arthur (right soleus strain) and G Jameer Nelson (right hip flexor strain) are out.
Sacramento holds a 2-1 advantage, as the Kings and Nuggets meet for the fourth and final time this season. The Kings took last season’s head-to-head matchup 2-1.
Denver leads the overall series 85-83, while the series is tied 60-60 in the Sacramento era.
“The old Chinese proverb says your best revenge is your success.” -- George Karl to reporters in Oklahoma City on facing the Nuggets, his former team
Watch Insider Bill Herenda offer up “Herenda’s Agenda” on Kings Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California.