David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins looks to pass as Nuggets center JaVale McGee defends in the third quarter Saturday in Denver. Cousins sat on the bench the entire second period and finished with three points, two rebounds and four assists.

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Nuggets steal lopsided win against Kings

Published: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 - 12:35 pm

DENVER – There were no secrets about this game.

The Denver Nuggets love to get out in transition. The Nuggets entered play Saturday averaging 18.3 fast-break points, second in the NBA.

And the Nuggets force a lot of turnovers, ranking 10th with 8.32 steals per game.

But if you watched Kings play at Pepsi Center, you might have thought they were the only ones in the building that didn't know all of this.

The Kings were blitzed early and fell behind by 20 points in the first quarter in a 121-93 loss to the Nuggets.

"We knew they were a top team in steals," said guard Isaiah Thomas. "We knew they were a top team in transition points. And when you don't dial in and do the things you need to do to try and take away from what the other team does, games are going to be like this."

It was the Kings' fourth consecutive loss. The last three have been by double digits. The loss that started this streak was a nine-point defeat at New Orleans where the Kings had trailed by 27.

The Kings fell to 4-17 on the road with five more games left on this road trip.

The Kings have been their worst enemies of late with careless decisions. The team has 74 turnovers in its last four games.

The Nuggets were glad to benefit from Kings' mistakes Saturday. They scored 25 points off 20 turnovers.

Eleven of the turnovers came in the first half when the Kings allowed season highs in field goal percentage (.617), field goals made (29) and assists (23). The Nuggets scored 71 first-half points, a season-best. Their 39 points in the first quarter matched the most the Kings have allowed this season.

"We just didn't have anything," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "There was nothing to our game and we couldn't get back on defense."

Smart even tried sitting his top two scorers, DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, the entire second quarter but the Kings got no closer than 11 in the quarter and trailed by as many as 35 points in the second half.

The Kings also allowed a season-high 33 fast-break points.

"We talked about how they run the floor," Evans said. "We just didn't stop it."

Smart said some of the Kings' passes were "real shaky" against the Nuggets (27-18). The Nuggets took turns exploiting that. Seven different players had a steal.

"I think the right decision is being made but not the right pass is being made," Smart said. "You see what the guys are trying to do in some situations but it's just not the right situation for that moment."

Thomas said, as the starting point guard, he was at fault for the turnovers and the slow start by the Kings (16-29).

Thomas said that by trailing 35-15 with more than two minutes left in the first quarter the tone was set and the Kings were never in the game.

"Teams are just being aggressive with guys," Thomas said. "Teams are scouting just like everybody else does and they probably say, 'They're not strong with the ball, they'll make any pass, play the passing lanes.' We've got to dial in. This is embarrassing and I'll take the blame."

Evans wasn't aware how many turnovers the Kings had and asked reporters for the final tally before being told it was 20.

"That's a lot of turnovers," Evans said. "We've just got to be careful with the ball."

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