Sacramento hasn’t lost to Denver at home since a 109-96 defeat on Jan. 7, 1997. In the 18 meetings since, the Kings have topped the 100-point mark 14 times and outscored the Nuggets by an average of 15.0 points per contest.
Artest, acquired from Indiana last week for Peja Stojakovic, started his first game for the Kings at Boston on Friday and scored 15 points in 32 minutes of an 84-74 loss. He had 24 points in 39 minutes at Toronto on Sunday in a 124-123 overtime defeat.
Artest scored 12 points in the fourth quarter against the Raptors, including a layup that sent the game into overtime, but Jalen Rose hit a game-winning 19-foot jumper with 0.4 seconds left in the extra session.
Mike Bibby connected on six 3-pointers and had 42 points for Sacramento, which finished 1-5 on its season-high six-game road trip.
“That’s a tough loss,” Kings coach Rick Adelman said. “It’s very disappointing to have lost that game, the last game of the trip. We’ve lost tough games. We have to play just a bit better. We made the stops we needed to make tonight and we certainly did enough defensively, we just have to play better.”
The Nuggets are 6-2 in their last eight road games, but are coming off a home-and-home series sweep by the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers outscored the Nuggets by 16 points in the second half of a 105-87 loss Friday and held leading scorer Carmelo Anthony to his lowest output in over two months, 16 points on 5 of 17 shooting, in a 112-79 defeat Saturday.
The 79 points were a season low for Denver, which shot 39.5 percent from the field, 66.7 percent from the free-throw line and committed 20 turnovers.
Anthony went a combined 14 of 38 from the field in the two games.
“The Clippers did a heck of a job packing it in on me, not letting me get to the basket like I wanted to and as I had been doing in the past,” Anthony said. “They sent every kind of defense a team can send at me these last two games. It got frustrating, especially when you’re trying to get back in the game and whatever you do is not working.”
Marcus Camby also struggled against Los Angeles, making 4 of 19 shots and totaling just 12 points in the two games after returning from a broken right pinkie that sidelined him for 15 contests.
The 6-foot-11 center has averaged 11.9 points and 11.6 rebounds in 16 games against the Kings in his career, including scoring 20 points in each of the two meetings between the teams this season.