Kings Blog

Kings’ shortcomings in offense, rebounding exploited in loss to Denver Nuggets

Willie Cauley-Stein, right, and the Kings couldn’t hold off Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Saturday in Denver.
Willie Cauley-Stein, right, and the Kings couldn’t hold off Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Saturday in Denver. The Associated Press

Nights like this are to be expected from this Kings team, where scoring is a struggle and the opponent is just too strong in the paint.

The Kings fell to 1-2 after losing 96-79 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets are a team with playoff aspirations and had three days to fume after blowing a game at Utah. The Kings came into Saturday off their first win of the season at Dallas, but didn’t have the juice to keep up with the Nuggets.

De’Aaron Fox came off the bench and scored 18 points for the Kings, who shot 36.5 percent. Paul Millsap and Kenneth Faried each scored 18 points for Denver.

1. Here’s your reminder it will not be easy for the Kings to score

The Kings’ best post player is Zach Randolph. After that, who knows? Skal Labissiere shows the most promise in that area. The Kings also don’t have the offensive weapons to rely on one or two players to carry them.

It’s one reason the halfcourt offense will struggle and Sacramento will have a tough time in games like Saturday, because the Kings lack proven scorers who can operate when the game slows down. Fox tried to make things happen off the dribble, but that’s a rough life in the NBA and a hard way to play.

2. Defense can’t win every night

The Kings aren’t playing bad defense for the most part. The effort has been there, but this team doesn’t have the experience to rely on defense to win every night and grind games out consistently.

That usually comes with familiarity and having the experience to know how to execute down the stretch. It will take some time for this group to figure that out, and even then there will be struggles to close games out. The Kings have to figure out how to score more to take pressure off the defense.

3. If you want to play fast, you have to rebound

The Kings were dominated on the glass by Denver, 58-39. That included 18 offensive rebounds for the Nuggets. The Kings have be able to manufacture points and play uptempo, because the halfcourt is not their strength.

One way to do that is to get rebounds and allow Fox and George Hill to push the pace.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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