Player of the game: Center Willie Cauley-Stein led a strong second unit with 29 points, a career high, and 10 rebounds as the Kings won their first game since trading DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi, 116-100 over Denver Thursday night at Golden 1 Center. The win pulls Sacramento a half game behind the Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Turning point: The Kings took advantage of Denver turnovers to outscore the Nuggets 32-18 in the second quarter and lead 61-44 at halftime.
X-factor: Sacramento got 72 points off the bench. Tyreke Evans scored 15 points, and rookies Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere had 16 and a season-high 12, respectively.
Injuries: Guard Arron Afflalo (sore hamstring) was ruled out two hours before tipoff.
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Records: Kings 25-33, Nuggets 25-32