The Sacramento Kings were leading for almost three quarters in Denver, and they were so close to winning in Colorado. But they didn’t have Nikola Jokic to show up when needed, and deliver a triumph.
The Joker made a last-second tip in, on his own shot, which gave his Nuggets a 120-118 lead with 0.3 seconds before the end.
Buddy Hield tried to score a game-winner, but his three-point shot was not accurate.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 14, 2019
This was 39th victory along with 18 defeats, for the Nuggets, who are still second in the West, while Kings slipped from eighth to ninth place in the same conference, with 30 wins and 27 losses.
They had their chance to secure a triumph in Pepsi Center, as David Joerger’s team led 17 points on two occasions in the second quarter.
After making a 10-0 run in the opening period, and creating a double-digit advantage, Kings closed that part of the encounter being ahead, 40-31.
Then started the second quarter and Sacramento began pulling away slowly, up to the point where they had a 54-37 lead. At that moment, the hosts woke up and created a 14-2 series, which cut down the gap between the two sides, but still kept Kings in front.
It stayed like that until the late part of the third quarter, when Denver caught up, and took the minimal lead entering the fourth period, 93-91.
Things on the floor became very interesting, and the teams were changing the lead several times throughout the middle of that period.
Nuggets jumped to 118-112, with 1:10 until the end, but the Kings rallied back with six unanswered points to tie the game at 15.1 seconds to go. Jokic and Monte Morris played pick and roll, with the Serb missing his first attempt from near, but tipping the ball in, after an offensive rebound, for a huge celebration at the Pepsi Center.
Jokic posted a triple-double with 20 points, 18 boards and 11 assists, his 12th this season. Paul Millsap had a team-high for the Nuggets, 25 points adding 13 rebounds on top of that. Beasley scored 21. Isaiah Thomas was back on the floor after a long time, and the point guard scored 8 points in 13 minutes, adding 2 dimes.
For the Kings, Hield dropped 25, but shooting 9 of 23. Barnes delivered 19 with 11 rebounds, Bogdanovic 16. De’Aaron Fox had a double-double 15 and 10 assists.
Sacramento plays the next game in Oakland against GSW, in seven days, while Nuggets head for Dallas on 22nd February.