The Denver Nuggets have won 11 straight games at home setting a franchise record. They haven't been as successful on the road but proved tonight defense is the key to win.
"You can't play every half and every quarter great," said Nuggets coach George Karl. "I thought the way we started off defensively early was the key."
Denver beat the Sacramento Kings 120-113. What appeared to be a good match-up between guards Isaiah Thomas and Ty Lawson was overshadowed by the Nuggets big men who dominated the boards all night. Lawson named the Western Conference Player of the week for games played February 25-March 3 finished with a team high 24 points.
Kenneth Faried recorded his 26th double-double with 19 points and a team high 12 rebounds despite playing only 21 minutes with four fouls. Danilo Gallinari finished with 23 points and exchanged some heated words with DeMarcus Cousins who didn't return in the fourth quarter.
"You have to be perfect against a team like this," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "We had a few too many defensive breakdowns where we gave up too many backdoor cuts. On sitting Cousins, 'I thought our guys needed some space on the floor and we needed something different to keep us in the game."
While DeMarcus didn't have his best game, Marcus Thornton led all scores with 32 points off the bench and was unstoppable for Sacramento. He made five three-pointers keeping the Kings alive despite trailing by 10 most of the second half.
"They had a good run in the fourth, but we were able to force some turnovers and get some easy baskets to hold them off," said Andre Miller.
Sacramento has lost eight of their last 10 games and hold the worst record in the Western Conference. But they look to turn things around this month. In a desperate fight to keep the team from moving to Seattle, the fans continue to support the team despite the possible move to Seattle next season.
Former Seattle Supersonics coach Karl got a little nostalgic when asked how he felt about the Kings move to Seattle. Reminiscing about the 1996 playoff game between Sacramento and the Sonics, stating it was different time in basketball where winning was the only focus.
"I think everyone knows I'm a Seattle guy and that I want basketball back in Seattle but I don't want basketball out of Sacramento."