Preview: Kings begin tough stretch of schedule vs. Nuggets

Feb 9, 2024, 8:24 AM

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings dribbling the ball wh...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Following one of their roughest 24-hour stretches in recent memory, the Sacramento Kings will look to silence some doubters on Friday night when they face the defending champion Denver Nuggets at Golden 1 Center.

On the heels of a brutal loss to the NBA-worst Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, the Kings (29-21) did not make a trade during Thursday’s trade deadline–a decision that will be viewed under a microscope over the final two months of the regular season.

Sacramento’s loss to Detroit also came at an unideal time, as the Kings will open up the roughest part of their schedule against the defending champion Nuggets.

Denver (36-16) has picked up right where they left off last season as they enter play on Friday in a tie with Minnesota for the top spot in the Western Conference standings. The Kings will face the Nuggets three times over the next nine games, including two matchups on the road.

We are going to learn a lot about Sacramento in the coming weeks as they navigate a stretch against the top teams in the West: Denver (three times), Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Minnesota, and the Los Angeles Clippers.

It all starts Friday night at Golden 1 Center. No more deadline talk–this Kings roster is what it is. Now, the playoff push begins.

Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center  – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -1.5, O/U 233.5

Tickets: Click here

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Nuggets coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Can Fox Bounce Back?

The Kings have missed De’Aaron Fox’s consistency as of late.

Outside of Fox’s 41-point effort against the Chicago Bulls last weekend, the star guard hasn’t scored more than 25 points in a game since January 27th (seven games).

During Wednesday’s loss to the Pistons, Fox struggled to find his offense as he finished the night with 12 points on five-of-14 shooting from the field (0/4 from the free-throw line) over 34 minutes of action.

Sacramento is at its best when Fox is locked in, and they will need their All-NBA guard near the top of his game against the defending champion Nuggets.

YouTube video

In Fox’s lone performance against Denver this season on December 2nd, the 26-year-old scored 26 points (10/22 FG), swiped three steals, and passed out a career-high 16 assists during a winning effort.

Can ‘Swipa’ tap back into his offense on Friday against a Nuggets team playing on the second night of a back-to-back?

Unlock Keegan Murray

Aside from Fox, Keegan Murray is the other King who has been recently searching for his offense.

The second-year forward has topped the 10-point mark just once over the past six games, averaging 9.7 points on 43 percent shooting from the field (36 percent from three-point range) during that stretch.

Murray’s sudden drop-off in offensive production is likely due to Harrison Barnes’ emergence as a scoring threat with increased volume.

Over the past ten games, Barnes is averaging 17.7 points on 13.4 field goal attempts per game. During that same timespan, Murray has seen his field goal attempts shrink from 13.1 to 9.8 per game.

Barnes and Kevin Huerter (44% from three-point range since January 14th) have turned a corner in recent weeks, but Murray’s production has been a casualty during the process.

Can Sacramento find balance in its offense and re-ignite Murray against a Denver defense that has allowed opponents to shoot 37 percent from three-point range over their past five contests?

Sabonis vs. Jokic

Two of the best big men in the NBA will face off on Friday as Domantas Sabonis goes head-to-head against two-time MVP winner Nikola Jokic.

Sabonis and Jokic enter play tied for the league lead in triple-doubles (15 each), while Sabonis holds a slim lead in the double-doubles department (46-43).

In the lone meeting between the two All-NBA talents this season, Jokic erupted for a monster triple-double (36 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists) during a losing effort as Sabonis (17 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists) and the Kings came out on top.

Over the past three matchups between these two bigs, Jokic holds a 2-1 record–but the numbers are close:

  • Jokic: 27.7 PTS | 9.7 REB | 8.7 AST | 54% FG
  • Sabonis: 26 PTS | 13.3 REB | 5.7 AST | 60% FG

Friday will give fans another meeting between these two MVP candidates, with Jokic entering play in the top spot and Sabonis in seventh on the NBA’s MVP ladder.


  • Denver holds a 6-3 record this season when playing on 0 days rest

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, February 9th – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 12:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, February 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • NBA All-Star break – February 15-21
  • Thursday, February 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST

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