Nuggets win 15th straight, 101-95 over Kings
DENVER (AP) – Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points to lead a balanced attack and the Denver Nuggets extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 101-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
Kenneth Faried had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets, who have won a franchise-best 17 straight at home.
And they did it while Ty Lawson (right heel) and Wilson Chandler (shoulder), two of their top players, were out with injuries.
Lawson and Chandler have been catalysts in Denver’s winning streak. Lawson has scored 20-plus points in 20 of his last 31 games and hit the game-winner against Oklahoma City on March 1.
Chandler, fully recovered from offseason hip surgery that cost him most of the first half of the season, has been big off the bench. He has scored 35 points twice and 24 in another game. His play Monday in Chicago helped the Nuggets win in overtime and extend their streak to 12 games.
Chandler and Lawson were injured in the Nuggets’ 114-104 win at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Chandler separated his left shoulder and Lawson bruised his right heel.
Without the pair Friday the Nuggets needed six points in the final 10 seconds to cap a frantic comeback for a one-point win over Philadelphia.
Though they had all five starters in double figures against Sacramento on Saturday, it took until the final minutes to hold off the Kings, who got 24 points and 15 rebounds from DeMarcus Cousins.
They used a 7-0 run early in the fourth to take an 81-76 lead, but Sacramento hung around, getting within a bucket twice. Kosta Koufos scored on a layup and Faried’s fast-break dunk gave Denver a 95-88 lead with 3:44 left.
Two layups by Cousins made it 95-92, but he missed a short shot in the lane that would have made it a one-point game. Andre Miller’s three-point play with 51 seconds made it 98-92.
John Salmons, who finished with 18 points, hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to cut it to four, but Miller sank two more foul shots
It seemed like no drama was necessary when they took a 15-point lead late in the second quarter, but 11 straight points from the Kings made it a four-point game early in the third.
Sacramento took its first lead on Salmons’ 3-pointer with 2:15 left in the third, and Cousins’ thunderous dunk and driving layup pushed the advantage to 71-66.
The Nuggets scored the last four points of the period to cut it to one heading into the final stanza.
NOTES: Chandler and Lawson Chandler is shooting to return Wednesday in San Antonio. The Nuggets play Monday at New Orleans. … The Kings were held to less than 100 points for just the third time in the last 20 games. … Cousins has 31 double-doubles this season.
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