NBA Game Summary - Sacramento at Denver
(Saturday, April 5th)
Final Score: Sacramento 118, Denver 115
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Kevin Martin scored 36 points, and made all 13 of his free throw attempts, as Sacramento held on for a 118-115 win over Denver, as the Nuggets fell in the conference standings.
Francisco Garcia had 29 points, and Mikki Moore finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds for Sacramento, which played without Ron Artest (thumb) and Brad Miller (leg). No one else reached double-digit points for the Kings, who still won their fourth straight, and whose leading scorer on the night was battling an illness.
"I felt bad when I woke up this morning," Martin said. "I felt nauseous. Then when I got here, I still didn't feel good, but it's the time of year when you just have to fight through things."
Denver got a monster night from Carmelo Anthony, who scored 47 and grabbed 11 boards. But the Nuggets lost for the second time in three games, and fell into a tie with idle Golden State for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both teams are a full game back of idle Dallas.
"The sun will come up tomorrow, and we're still tied with everybody," Denver head coach George Karl said. "Giving up 118 points to that team is disappointing. Most of the time we've been a good defensive team here. But tonight we weren't."
Linas Kleiza had 28 points, and Marcus Camby finished with 14 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists for Denver, which had a nine-game win streak at home snapped.
"We just weren't there mentally and physically," Nuggets guard Allen Iverson said. "There is no reason why that team should come in here and beat us. It's unacceptable, there's no excuse for it."
The Nuggets were down by double-digits early in the fourth quarter, by two or more possessions for much of the stanza, and 110-100 with just 2:29 left after a John Salmons free throw.
But Anthony took over for Denver at that point, converting a three-point play and draining a three, back-to-back, bringing the Nuggets within four with just over two minutes to play.
Anthony was a one-man offense, trading baskets with Sacramento over the next 1 1/2 minutes. Two free throws with 43 seconds left brought Denver within 116-113.
After a Salmons miss on the other end, Anthony Carter committed an offensive foul for the Nuggets, giving the Kings the ball right back. But the Denver defense forced a shot-clock violation with 10.5 ticks remaining.
Anthony went for a quick dunk to bring Denver within a point, and the Nuggets fouled Martin with 4.3 seconds on the clock. Martin made both, setting up one final look for Denver.
But the shot went to J.R. Smith, who scored 13 points in the game but made just 2-of-11 from three-point range. Smith's shot bounced off the front of the rim and fell away from the hoop, sealing Sacramento's win.
The Nuggets commanded the first quarter, and took a 34-25 lead after a Kleiza jumper and Smith free throws capped the stanza's scoring.
But the Kings chipped away in the second quarter, and drew within 45-43 with 5:55 remaining after Garcia made a trey and layup, consecutively. Later in the stanza, Garcia scored five straight Sacramento points, as the Kings surged ahead, 59-54 with a little more than a minute remaining. An Anthony jumper with just seconds left, though, drew Denver back within three at the break.
The teams traded baskets and the lead in the third quarter until Sacramento went ahead thanks to a six-point surge. Garcia converted a three-point play, Martin made a free throw, and a Spencer Hawes jumper gave the Kings a 79-71 lead with four minutes remaining.
Sacramento held onto the lead, set at 88-79 going into the fourth quarter. The Kings then pushed ahead, 92-81, on back-to-back baskets by Garcia and Shelden Williams, in the first minute, and led comfortably for most of the stanza.
Iverson scored 13 for the Nuggets...Anthony was 19-of-24 from the field, and made 6-of-6 from the free throw line...Denver shot 45.6 percent overall, while Sacramento had a 46.6 percent shooting mark...Each team had 45 rebounds.
04/06 01:06:34 ET