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Kings took care of the ball, but Jokic's triple-double keyed Nuggets' rout

Nikola Jokic, left, and the Denver Nuggets rolled past Bruno Caboclo and the Kings on Sunday at Pepsi Center. Jokic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season in a 130-104 victory.
Nikola Jokic, left, and the Denver Nuggets rolled past Bruno Caboclo and the Kings on Sunday at Pepsi Center. Jokic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season in a 130-104 victory. The Associated Press

Nikola Jokic had his seventh triple-double of the season with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Denver Nuggets crushed the Kings 130-104 on Sunday at Pepsi Center.

Gary Harris led the Nuggets (37-30) with 21 points and Jamal Murray scored 20.

Buddy Hield led the Kings (21-46) with 18 points. Kosta Koufos had 14 points and 10 rebounds, De'Aaron Fox finished with 12 points and nine assists, and Willie Cauley-Stein recorded 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Nuggets were hot from the field, shooting 56.2 percent compared to the Kings' 42.9 percent.

Despite the rout, Sacramento committed just a season-low three turnovers.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

The fourth quarter matters

With Cauley-Stein and Fox returning from injuries, their minutes in the fourth quarter were important in trying to re-establish themselves.

Cauley-Stein missed four games with a lower back strain, while Fox missed one with a similar injury.

Both players need remain healthy and find a rhythm to finish the season strong.

Energy needed

The Kings' top two energy players, Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson, are on two-way contracts. Either would have helped bring some life to the court, where Sacramento looked two steps behind most of the game Sunday.

The Kings have to find someone to address this in the offseason. Too many times the Kings have looked flat. Overall, the team is too young for that to be an issue.

Too easy

Jokic is one of the NBA's better big men, but he dominated with ease, making 8 of 10 shots and finding wide-open teammates seemingly at will. He was able to exploit any defensive breakdowns by the Kings by scoring and passing.

The Kings have to figure out how to play with more force while not allowing teams to regularly shoot better than 50 percent.

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