SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings seek first 4-0 season sweep of Nuggets since 2003

Feb 28, 2024, 8:43 AM | Updated: 8:44 am

DENVER, COLORADO - FEBRUARY 14: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings drives towards the bas...

(Photo by Alysa Rubin/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alysa Rubin/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

While the Sacramento Kings have found success against the defending champion Denver Nuggets this season, they could be without a critical piece when the two teams take the floor at Ball Arena on Wednesday night.

The Kings (33-24) will hope that they can shake off a tough loss to a severely shorthanded Miami Heat team, but could have to do so without the services of De’Aaron Fox (left knee contusion), whose status is currently up in the air for the fourth and final regular-season matchup with the Nuggets.

Denver (39-19) is in the midst of another strong season following the franchise’s first championship one season ago, but they have struggled against Sacramento this season. With a win over the Nuggets on Wednesday, the Kings can secure their first four-game season series sweep of Denver since the 2002-03 season.

While Sacramento has matched up well against the defending champs thus far, the potential absence of Fox could loom large against a Nuggets team that won three straight games by an average margin of 17 points.

Can the Kings keep pace in a tight Western Conference playoff race and complete the season sweep of Denver?

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Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets Game Info

When: 6:00 PM PST

Where: Ball Arena  – Denver, CO

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 4:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Nuggets -7.5, O/U 230.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Nuggets coverage, beginning at 4:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Denver.

No Fox, Big Problem?

De’Aaron Fox has been playing out of his mind over the past five games.

Since February 13th, the guard is averaging 31.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.6 steals per game on 52 percent shooting from the field. Fox is the only player this season to post 25+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists, and 2+ steals in five straight games. In fact, since the start of the 2003-04 season, only five players have done so in five or more games:

LeBron James (6 games) 2011, Kobe Bryant (5 games) 2004, Tracy McGrady (5 games) 2007, Nikola Jokic (5 games) 2022, and Fox (5 games) 2024.

While Fox’s return to his early-season self has been refreshing to see, the guard’s status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain. During Monday’s loss to Miami, Fox banged knees with a Heat player during the first half, causing the guard to limp for minutes before finishing the game.

Following his postgame media session, Fox said that he was feeling fine, adding that he had just hit knees with somebody. It’s unknown if Fox will take the floor in Denver, but Sacramento’s task will become even taller if they are to play without its star guard.

If Fox is unable to go, expect Davion Mitchell to get the start, while Malik Monk will see his ball-handling duties increase.

Pack The Paint

The Kings currently possess the NBA’s worst three-point defense, allowing opponents to shoot 39.6 percent from downtown this season. Fortunately for Sacramento, the Nuggets haven’t caused the bulk of their damage from three-point range.

Denver enters play ranked 27th in both three-point field goal attempts and makes. In three matchups against Sacramento this season, the Nuggets have shot 30.6 percent from deep, including 24 percent during a loss at Golden 1 Center on December 2nd.

Minding the paint will be important for the Kings against a Denver team that is ranked second in two-point field goals, third in two-point field goal attempts, sixth in paint points per game (53.6), and tenth in two-point field goal percentage (56%).

During the most recent matchup between the two teams on February 14th, Sacramento held the Nuggets to 40 points in the paint on 20-of-47 (42%) shooting inside the key.

Sabonis vs. Jokic

Is there any other matchup that sticks out of this game more than Domantas Sabonis taking on Nikola Jokic?

Sabonis, who is in the midst of a career year (yet, apparently not good enough for an All-Star nod, but I digress), will face off with the MVP-front-runner Jokic for the final time this regular season.

In three meetings with Jokic this season, Sabonis has been a force (18.0 points, 15.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 53% FG), while Jokic has delivered as well (24.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 49% FG).

Sabonis holds a 4-0 record over his past four meetings with Jokic, but picking up a fifth-straight head-to-head win will be a challenge as the Nuggets could hone in on the Kings’ big man if De’Aaron Fox is unavailable.

If Fox is unable to play, Sabonis could look to put his head down and score in the post more aggressively while also relying on his shooters (Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes) to knock down looks on the perimeter.

Expect Sabonis to attack the glass, too, as the All-NBA big’s 15.0 rebounds per game average vs. Denver is his most against any opponent he has faced three or more times this season.

Kings vs. Nuggets Injury Report

Sacramento

  • De’Aaron Fox – QUESTIONABLE (left knee contusion)
  • Sasha Vezenkov – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)
  • Colby Jones – OUT (G-League)

Denver

  • Hunter Tyson – QUESTIONABLE (left finger sprain/fracture)
  • Vlato Cancar – OUT (left knee surgery)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, February 28th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • Friday, March 1st – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 5:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 4th – Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 6th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST

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