EditorsNote: rewords to “(52.8 percent)” in fourth graf
Nikola Jokic had 14 points and 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes, Jamal Murray scored 19, and the host Denver Nuggets rolled to a 126-112 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Gary Harris added 18 points and Paul Millsap scored 15 for the Nuggets (4-0). Denver is off to its best start since it won its first five games in the 2009-10 season.
Marvin Bagley III had 20 points and Justin Jackson scored 17 points for Sacramento, which wrapped up a 1-2 road trip.
The game pitted strength against strength. The Kings, who have lost three of their first four games, came into Tuesday second in the NBA in scoring (125.7 points a game) and in field-goal percentage (52.8 percent) but were stifled by Denver’s league-leading defense until scoring 15 points in mop-up time.
The Nuggets never trailed and built on a 13-point halftime lead quickly in the third quarter.
Murray scored five quick points after Jokic opened the second half with his first 3-pointer of the game, and Harris capped a 10-0 run with a short jumper that gave Denver an 86-62 lead with 8:02 left.
Although Sacramento became the first team to break 100 against the Nuggets, it was window dressing after Denver built a 91-66 lead midway through the third quarter and a 105-81 edge heading into the fourth.
The lead grew to as much as 27 in the fourth with Denver’s starters sitting on the bench. The Kings were in danger of not reaching 100 points, but Ben McLemore hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 left to put Sacramento into triple digits.
Jokic had a double-double with more than three minutes left in the first half but left after picking up his third foul with 1:25 left in the second quarter.
Denver was comfortably ahead after an 8-0 run to start the second quarter to push the lead to 15. Jackson hit a 3-pointer to get Sacramento back within seven but no closer. Harris hit a 3-pointer to make it 68-52 with 5.3 seconds left, but Frank Mason beat the buzzer to cut Denver’s lead to 68-55 at the break.
—Field Level Media