Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists, and he tipped in his own miss with 0.3 seconds left to give the host Denver Nuggets a 120-118 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Paul Millsap finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds, and Isaiah Thomas scored eight points in 13 minutes during his Denver debut. The Nuggets won despite coach Michael Malone and guard Malik Beasley being ejected. Beasley finished with 21 points before getting tossed.
Buddy Hield had 25 points and Harrison Barnes finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings.
The game was tight throughout the fourth quarter, but Denver appeared to be in control when Jokic made it 118-112 by sinking two free throws with 1:10 left. The Kings then scored six consecutive points, the last two on Hield’s layup with 15.1 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Nuggets got the ball to Jokic, whose layup was off before he tapped in the miss. Hield’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Sacramento led by 11 at halftime, but the Nuggets came out with a strong third quarter, with Thomas providing two big highlights. After missing both of his shots in the first half, he hit two 3-pointers, one to bring Denver within a point and the second that gave the Nuggets their first lead, 91-89, with 1:04 left.
Barnes tied it with two free throws, and Thomas hit an 11-foot jumper to put Denver ahead 93-91 heading into the fourth.
Sacramento led most of the game and was on top by as many as 15 points in the first quarter. Denver got a spark when Thomas checked into the game with 3:12 left in the opening period and the Kings ahead 33-18. The crowd gave him a loud ovation, and he had two quick assists to spark the Nuggets.
He last played March 22, 2018, for the Los Angeles Lakers before undergoing hip surgery and changing teams.
Sacramento increased its lead to 17 early in the second quarter, but the Nuggets, behind six points from Millsap, got within five. They were down eight when Beasley missed a layup and Malone lost his temper with official Michael Smith, who hit him with two technical fouls and ejected him from the game.
—Field Level Media