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January 25, 2012
Kings lose to Nuggets, 122-93

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Written and circled on the white board in the Kings' locker room after their loss to the Denver Nuggets were a number and three words: "90 pts in paint."

Such was the Kings' undoing Wednesday night at Power Balance Pavilion. The Nuggets, finding easy looks under the basket on fast-breaks and in the half-court alike, scored 92 points in the paint en route to a 122-93 win.

The Nuggets led by three points, 32-29, early in the second quarter, then went on a 34-14 run to close out the quarter and led by as many as 35 points late in the game.

"We didn't have any resistance in the paint," Kings head coach Keith Smart said. "Of course we knew the fast-break was going to be a tough issue for us anyway, the way they get out and push the ball, they're No. 1 in the league. But we just got broken down too many times.

"Contain the ball in front of you. When you can't contain the ball you're going to give opportunities to a good team that can get into the paint and finish around the basket."

Forward Danilo Gallinari scored a game-high 23 points for the Nuggets, who had seven players in double figures. Forward Nene added 16 points, while guard Andre Miller had 15 points and 10 assists.

Rookie guard Jimmer Fredette had a team-high 19 points for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Isaiah Thomas had 16 points and 6 assists off the bench.

The Kings' previous season high for points allowed in the paint was also the league's high mark -- 72 points scored by the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 3.

"We've all got to just look ourselves in the mirror and say, how am I going to guard my man? How am I going to stop my man from scoring?" said forward Jason Thompson. "At the end of the day the great teams play team defense, but first you've got to be able to stop your man and then worry about the help."

The Kings were playing without guard Marcus Thornton after the team announced earlier Wednesday that Thornton will miss 1 to 2 weeks with a significant hematoma in his left thigh.

Fredette started in Thornton's stead and had his third consecutive double-digit scoring game, shooting 6-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-8 from three-point range.

The Kings shot 43.6 percent from the floor, but allowed the Nuggets to shoot 54.9 percent. The Nuggets made 46 of their 50 field goals in the paint.

-- Matt Kawahara



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