NBC Sports

What we learned in Kings' impressive win over Jokic, Nuggets

NBC Sports
USATSI

SACRAMENTO -- The Denver Nuggets (12-10) can’t seem to figure out the Kings (11-11).

Despite a Herculean effort from All-Star center Nikola Jokic, the Kings picked up their third win over the Western Conference powerhouse this season, this time by a final of 119-114 at Golden 1 Center on Saturday.

Four Kings broke the 20-point barrier, including a career-best 23 from rookie Tyrese Haliburton off the bench, who once again came up clutch in the fourth.

Jokic dropped in an incredible 50 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, but he clearly needed more help from his teammates in the loss. The 50 points were a career-high for The Joker.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings pick up their third straight win and move back to the .500 mark on the season at to 11-11 on the season. 

Black Falcon

Harrison Barnes, aka Black Falcon, is having a career year. Saturday afternoon he abused Michael Porter Jr. in the Kings big win over the Nuggets.

Barnes was feeling it early and once he got rolling, Denver had no answer. The Kings’ most consistent play this season, Barnes finished the afternoon game with 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 from long range. He added seven rebounds and four assists as the Kings stunned the Nuggets.

After a mediocre season last year in Sacramento, Barnes is having a breakout campaign. He’s one of the leaders on the team and his versatility as a defender has made him one of the most valuable members of the squad.

 

Keeping pace

The Kings don’t have a big man like the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, but neither does the rest of the league. What Sacramento does have is a big-time hustle player in Richaun Holmes. 

RELATED: Five reasons Kings' closing lineup is thriving

While Holmes didn’t match Jokic’s monster performance, he made a big impact for the Kings. Using his patented push shot, Holmes shot 9-for-13 from the field on his way to a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double. It was the sixth double-double of the season for Holmes.

Swat

In addition to Holmes putting in good work for Sacramento, Hassan Whiteside dropped in 11 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double as a member of the Kingsi. He was aggressive going at Jokic and even had one of the Kings’ 27 assists on the night.

Where Whiteside was the most impressive was at the rim where he had three blocks, including a monster swat against JaMychal Green.

Whiteside hasn’t been the difference maker the Kings had hoped when they signed him in the offseason, but there have been a few nights where he’s come up big.