14 Feb 2019, 11:21 IST
DENVER (AP) — Ejected within the first half, Nuggets coach Michael Malone did not get to an in-person take a look at Isaiah Thomas’ first 3-pointer in a Denver uniform. He additionally did not watch from his ordinary vantage level as Nikola Jokic tipped within the winner.
The raucous reverberations from inside the sector instructed him every little thing.
Jokic knocked in a basket with lower than a second remaining, Thomas hit two massive 3-pointers in his long-awaited Denver debut and the Nuggets held off the Sacramento Kings 120-118 on Wednesday evening.
“This was one of many few house video games that is gone all the way down to the wire, which is sweet for us,” mentioned Malone, who watched from the locker room after receiving two technicals simply earlier than halftime. “We have to proceed to be challenged and be pressured to execute and get stops.”
Jokic completed with 20 factors, 18 rebounds and 11 assists for his 28th profession triple-double, and Paul Millsap matched a season excessive with 25 factors to assist Denver overcome a 17-point first-half deficit.
Down six late, the Kings tied it on Buddy Hield’s layup with 15.1 seconds. In a timeout, it turned next-coach-up time within the Denver huddle. Wes Unseld. Jr., filling in for Malone, helped design a play to get Jokic open.
Jokic went to work down low, lacking his first shot try earlier than tipping it in. Hield’s last-gasp 3-pointer was off the mark on the buzzer.
“Coach Wes, all people, all stepped up,” mentioned Jamal Murray, whose staff is a league-best 25-Four at house this season.
Hield would not thoughts one other crack at that shot.
“I used to be looking for the rim however I did not get my eye on the rim,” mentioned Hield, who led six Sacramento gamers in double figures with 25 factors. “On to the following. Benefit from the weekend we’ve arising.”
The Nuggets head into the All-Star break with a 39-18 file and on the heels of Golden State for the highest spot within the Western Convention. Denver’s making an attempt to make the postseason for the primary time since 2012-13.
Thomas proclaimed his surgically repaired hip good to go previous to the sport and was anxious to step again onto the courtroom. He acquired a standing ovation when he entered the sport late within the first quarter.
The 30-year-old Thomas confirmed flashes of his expertise in shaking off some rust. He performed 13 minutes and scored eight factors — all within the third quarter — in his first NBA recreation since March 22 when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets signed the two-time All-Star to a one-year deal within the offseason and gave him loads of area to recuperate from his hip operation.
Thomas scored his first basket of the season on a 3-pointer with 2:16 left within the third quarter. Moments later, he drained one other 3-pointer that gave Denver its first lead since early within the recreation.
“When my title is named, I will all the time be prepared,” Thomas mentioned. “After I’m within the recreation, I will make it laborious for the coach to take me out.”
Kings: Sacramento scored 41 factors within the first quarter. … F Harrison Barnes had 19 factors and 11 rebounds. … De’Aaron Fox had 15 factors and 10 assists.
Nuggets: G Gary Harris sat out a seventh straight recreation with a strained adductor. … G Malik Beasley was ejected within the fourth quarter after selecting up a second technical. He had 21 factors.
Requested to speak about Thomas, Malone quipped: “I hoped we might discuss Joe Flacco.”
The veteran QB was acquired by the Denver Broncos on Wednesday in a commerce with Baltimore that may change into official subsequent month when the league’s new 12 months begins, an individual with data of the settlement instructed The Related Press.
“I wish to welcome him to Nuggets nation,” Malone cracked.
KINGS AT THE BREAK
At 30-27, Sacramento could be very a lot within the playoff image and shortly growing chemistry after buying Barnes and Alec Burks in deadline offers.
“We’re competing. We like one another. They get alongside nice,” Kings coach Dave Joerger mentioned. “It is a time to take a breath, get your toes up a bit bit, get some psychological relaxation.”
Jokic did a bit little bit of every little thing, together with a move off the backboard to himself for a layup and one other full-length move for a straightforward basket. The staff is now 24-Four when Jokic goes for a triple-double, together with 16-Zero at house.
Kings: After the All-Star break, resume a street swing by enjoying at Golden State on Feb. 21.
Nuggets: At Dallas on Feb. 22.
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