Paul Millsap leads Denver Nuggets past Sacramento Kings

By Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 22, 2017 at 12:01 AM
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DENVER -- Paul Millsap had 18 points and nine rebounds in his Denver home debut, and the Nuggets rebounded from a disappointing loss to Utah to beat the Sacramento Kings 96-79 on Saturday night.

Kenneth Faried also scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Gary Harris had 17 points for Denver.

The Nuggets (1-1) blew a 15-point second-half lead to the Jazz in Utah on Wednesday but held the Kings to 36.9 percent shooting and pulled away in the third.

Rookie De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 18 points. Sacramento (1-2) didn't score 20 points in a quarter until the fourth.

Millsap was playing his first regular-season game at Pepsi Center since signing a two-year, $61 million contract in the offseason. He scored 19 points against the Jazz and turned in an efficient performance Saturday.

He shouldered the load inside on a night star center Nikola Jokic went scoreless in 30 minutes. Jokic attempted just three shots but finished with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Sacramento's Willie Cauley-Stein also struggled. The 7-footer had two points and nine rebounds.

Denver led by eight at the half and increased it to 16 late in the third quarter. They scored seven straight in one stretch, the last three coming after Millsap blocked Zach Randolph and Harris drained a 3-pointer at the other end.

Sacramento scored the next six points but Will Barton hit two straight 3-pointers to make it 62-46. Denver led 66-52 after three quarters.

Barton's follow dunk of Emmanuel Mudiay's missed layup gave the Nuggets an 18-point lead.

Barton, who finished with 15 points, scored on an acrobatic bank shot in the lane and Faried's dunk with 7:41 left made it 76-55.

Both teams were cold from the field in the first half. Denver missed its first eight 3-point attempts and was 3-for-15 from long range at intermission.

The Kings managed only 34 points in the first 24 minutes.

NOTES: The Nuggets honored five former players and Doug Moe, the winningest coach in franchise history. They held a halftime ceremony and will continue to celebrate the organization's 50th year of basketball -- the first nine in the ABA -- including retiring Fat Lever's number Dec. 2. ... Sacramento F Bogdan Bogdanovic was out for the third straight game because of a right ankle sprain. ... Denver F Richard Jefferson, signed Thursday, was inactive. ... Zach Randolph, who made his Sacramento debut in Dallas on Friday, finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

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