In their first game since they traded away Demarcus Cousins, the new look Sacramento Kings put on an impressive display, defeating the Denver Nuggets 116-100. The Kings were down 8 points early in the game and looked disjointed. Then they brought in 3rd year big man Willie Cauley-Stein who ignited the team and the sold out Golden One Arena crowd with his play off the bench.
An 8 point first quarter deficit was turned into a 3 point lead at the end of the quarter. The team led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter, before settling on a 61-44 half time lead over the Nuggets, led by Cauley-Stein, newcomer Buddy Hield and returning King Tyreke Evans.
In the second half the Nuggets cut the lead to single digits, but a quick timeout stopped their surge and the Kings increased the lead to 15. The team showed hustle throughout the night, playing aggressive defense and tracking down long rebounds and loose balls. Cauley-Stein finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds in a season high 35 minutes. Cauley-Stein is expected to see an increase in playing time with Cousins now gone. Buddy Hield contributed 16 points and Tyreke Evans 15, along with a season high 12 points from Skal Labissiere.