SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Reserve JaVale McGee scored 19 points, Danilo Gallinari had 18 and the Denver Nuggets built a big lead in the first half and cruised past the Sacramento Kings 122-97 Sunday.
The Nuggets scored 16 straight points to break away from a tie in the first quarter, and led by a comfortable margin the rest of the way.
Denver has won seven in a row against the Kings. Sacramento has lost four in a row overall.
Sacramento's Aaron Brooks committed a hard foul against Andre Miller late in the first quarter and a mild altercation ensued involving DeMarcus Cousins of the Kings and Kenneth Faried of the Nuggets. All four players were given technical fouls.
It was an lopsided victory for the road-tested Nuggets, who have opened the season playing 18 of their first 25 games away from Denver. Ahead by 18 points at the half, the Nuggets came out and produced a solid third quarter, outscoring the Kings 33-21 to take a 97-67 lead heading into the fourth.
Reserve Jordan Hamilton had a season-high 15 points and Kosta Koufos had 12 points for the Nuggets, who are 7-11 on the road this season. Andre Iguodala had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Ty Lawson added 11 points and seven assists.
Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Jason Thompson added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Starting Kings guard Tyreke Evans played the first 10 minutes, then left the game for good with a sore left knee. He missed five of the previous eight games because of his injured knee. Against the Nuggets, he missed all four shots.
The Kings were without Marcus Thornton for a third straight game. Their leading scorer off bench, Thornton left the team to be with his sick mother in Louisiana.
NOTES: The technical against Cousins was his seventh of the season. He was suspended by the NBA for one game last week for striking O.J. Mayo of Dallas in the groin. ... Kings coach Keith Smart was given a technical early in the third quarter. ... Koufos shot an airball on a free throw in the second quarter and was jeered by the crowd. He missed his second attempt as well when the shot barely hit the rim.
SACRAMENTO -- The one that got away.
News broke Friday afternoon of another player move from the Sacramento Kings. A transaction 22 years in the making was finally completed when according to a published report, the Kings renounced the rights to 6-foot-7 Serbian, Dejan Bodiroga.
The now 44-year-old wing has been retired since 2007. He’s known around the basketball circles as one of the greatest European players to never to come to the NBA.
Drafted by Geoff Petrie with the 51st overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft, Sacramento tried multiple times to get the sharpshooter to come to the states. It was always a longshot, but after selecting Corliss Williamson and Tyus Edney with his first two selections, Petrie took a late-round gamble.
Bodiroga has a trophy case full of awards, including a Spanish League MVP, a FIBA World Cup MVP and a Greek League MVP. He also won championships in the Italian, Greek and Spanish Leagues, as well as silver medal in the 1996 Olympic games.
He is also on the list of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors along with fellow Serbian and current Sacramento Kings General Manager, Vlade Divac.
Kings fans reacted on Twitter to the news in standard fashion:
SACRAMENTO -- The season is still months away, but the slow buildup has started. Thursday afternoon the Sacramento Kings announced their preseason schedule for the 2017-18 season and there is plenty of intrigue to look forward to.
The Kings open their preseason schedule on Oct. 2 at the Golden 1 Center against the San Antonio Spurs. Under head coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs won 61 games last season before falling to the Golden State Warriors in four games during the Western Conference Finals. They didn’t land Chris Paul, like early rumors suggested, but they roll into Sacramento with former King Rudy Gay and a team chalked full of veterans.
Four days later, the Kings travel to the AT&T Center in San Antonio to face the Spurs again. San Antonio will start the season without point guard Tony Parker, who ruptured a quad tendon during the playoffs and is expected to sit out until January.
The Kings fly to Sin City on Oct. 8 for their annual matchup in Vegas against the Lakers. The game will certainly take on a more of a circus feel as the Lonzo Ball vs. De’Aaron Fox fanfare hits a fever pitch.
Following the Lakers game, the Kings travel back to Sacramento where the vaunted backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum await on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland took the season series 2-1 last year and come in with rookie Zach Collins, who Sacramento dealt away on draft night for opportunity to select Justin Jackson and Harry Giles at picks 15 and 20.
The Kings take on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 12 at the Staples Center. The backcourt of Chris Paul and J.J. Reddick is no more and veteran sixth-man Jamal Crawford is now with the T-Wolves. The additions of Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic make the Clippers and intriguing watch.
Sacramento finishes out their preseason schedule Oct. 13 at Oracle Arena against the reigning world champs. The Warriors come back with most of their championship roster intact, but a few additions. Nick Young will come off the bench to add more offensive firepower and former Kings forward Omri Casspi will make his return to Sacramento after being traded away at the All-Star break last season.
Per NBA scheduling changes, the preseason and regular season have been moved up. Sacramento will finish their exhibition schedule five days ahead of last season’s schedule. With only two home games on the docket, plenty of Kings fans will have to wait until the regular season to get their first glimpse at the team’s five rookies and three free agent acquisitions.