NBA Game Summary - Sacramento at Denver
(Monday, April 13th)
Final Score: Denver 118, Sacramento 98
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - J.R. Smith scored a career-high 45 points and set a Nuggets franchise record with 11 three-pointers to lead Denver to the Northwest Division title with a 118-98 win over lowly Sacramento at the Pepsi Center.
Smith broke the Nuggets record for most three-pointers in a game when he hit his 10th trey of the tilt with 3:11 remaining in the contest. With 1:50 to play, Smith brought the crowd into a frenzy with his 11th three of the game.
Sacramento fouled Smith from that point on to prevent him from tying the NBA record of 12 three-pointers in a game.
"It was definitely one of my better shooting nights. My eleventh three, I don't know how that went in but I'll take it," Smith said.
Michael Adams and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf set the previous franchise mark of nine three-pointers. Smith's previous career high was eight treys, which he has done three times, including earlier this month versus Utah.
Smith, who played just under 30 minutes off the bench, had a previous career high of 43 points, which he set at Chicago last season.
Smith went 11-of-18 from beyond the arc and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line for the Nuggets, who won their first division title since the 2005-2006 campaign. Carmelo Anthony ended with 21 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Linas Kleiza finished with 17 points off the bench.
Denver, which sits in the second spot in the West, will have home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 1988. The Nuggets (54-27) also tied a franchise record for most wins in a season. Denver joined the NBA in 1976.
The Nuggets can secure the second seed with a win at Portland on Wednesday. Denver could also clinch the second spot with a Rockets loss at Dallas on Wednesday.
Ike Diogu set a career-high with 32 points for Sacramento, which lost its ninth straight contest. Bobby Jackson had 18 points and 12 assists for the Kings. Francisco Garcia and Jason Thompson had 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The Kings, who were already were without guards Beno Udrih (left ankle) and Kevin Martin (left ankle), lost center Spencer Hawes with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter. A flagrant foul from Kenyon Martin sent Hawes to the locker room with a injured left knee. Hawes did not return to the contest.
Ahead 89-83 with under nine minutes to play, the Nuggets essentially sealed the victory by ripping off 12 straight points. Smith drilled back-to-back three-pointers and Chris Andersen made 1-of-2 from the line to culminate the spurt.
Sacramento never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
"We just went really flat there in the beginning of the fourth quarter," Kings coach Kenny Natt said.
The Kings, who led by as many as nine in the opening frame, took a 33-25 lead into the second quarter.
Down 40-29 early in the second stanza, the Nuggets put together a 16-4 run to take a 45-44 edge with under six minutes until halftime. Smith made a trio of three-pointers during the surge, which was capped off by a Kleiza dunk.
Denver led by as many as seven in the period and headed to the locker room with a 62-58 advantage.
The Nuggets scored the first seven points of the third quarter to open a 69-58 lead. Sacramento slowly chipped away at the margin and trailed 80-79 with 1:40 to go.
Anthony tallied the final six points of the stanza to give Denver an 86-79 margin heading to the fourth.
The Nuggets went 27-of-36 from the stripe, while Sacramento went 9-of-15...Denver guard Dahntay Jones left the game in the third quarter with a bruised right shoulder. He didn't return to the game...The Kings will finish the season at Minnesota on Wednesday...The Nuggets won the season series with Sacramento, 3-1.
04/14 02:19:27 ET