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Buddy Hield nets tap-in buzzer-beater, Kings edge Nuggets in OT

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Buddy Hield soared through the air and just managed to get his fingers on the basketball for a tip-in shot as the final buzzer of overtime sounded to give the Sacramento Kings their first win of the season.

Hield scored a team-high 22 points in the 124-122 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday at Ball Arena in Denver. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored a game-high 29 points and had 15 rebounds and 14 assists in the loss.

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"To win the first game of the season is a great lift for us," Hield told reporters. "It just gives us good momentum to move in the right direction."

The Kings and Nuggets were tied at 122-122 with 2.6 remaining when Harrison Barnes stole the ball from Jokic to spark a Sacramento fast break. Barnes sprinted down the court before he elevated for a dunk attempt, but the throw-down clanked off the back iron and bounced above the rim.

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Hield trailed on the play and wasn't boxed out by the defense. He used his right hand to collect and shoot the ball in the same motion as he jumped through the lane. Hield's flip-up shot bounced off the backboard before it went through the net as the final horn sounded.

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Barnes and De'Aaron Fox had 21 points apiece in the victory. Michael Porter Jr. had 24 points for Denver.

"We relaxed," Jokic said of the Nuggets, who had a 63-50 lead at halftime. "We played a really good first half, but they came out really aggressive in the second half.

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"They had a lot of energy and picked up the tempo. We didn't match it.

The Nuggets host the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. EST on Friday at Ball Arena. The Kings host the Phoenix Suns at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

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