The Kings (11-14) won three of the final four games on the road swing after losing the opener to league-best Boston. Sacramento closed the trip with wins on back-to-back nights, defeating New Jersey 106-101 before beating Milwaukee 102-89 on Wednesday.
Those two victories saw the Kings outscore the opposition 63-44 in the fourth quarter.
“We turned what was already a good road trip into a great road trip for us,” Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. “On this road trip, we learned how to finish games.”
Theus’ team also found its shooting touch from long range, making 23 of its 41 3-point attempts (56.1 percent).
Sacramento now returns to Arco Arena to face a Denver team which leads the Northwest Division despite losing three of its last four games. The Nuggets have lost five of six away from home and their 4-7 road record is the worst of any division leader.
Denver, though, did win its last visit to Sacramento—113-101 on March 11— after losing 20 straight trips there dating to Jan. 7, 1997. The Nuggets won at home in the only meeting this season, 101-97 on Dec. 8.
Sacramento is 8-4 at Arco this season, winning three of its last four home games. The Kings also play Boston, Philadelphia and Phoenix on this homestand, and they will not go back on the road until visiting New York on Jan. 2.
“It’s a great feeling to be home for four games during the holidays,” said Kings forward Ron Artest, who had 26 points and eight assists Wednesday.
Artest’s worst shooting game of the season came against the Nuggets as he went 5-of-18 and missed all five of his 3-point tries. However, he has gone 6-of-9 from 3-point range over the last two games while scoring 46 points, helping pick up the slack with Kevin Martin still sidelined.
Leading Sacramento with 24.5 points per game, Martin will miss his ninth consecutive game with a groin injury and is not expected to return until next month.
The other regular starter in the Kings backcourt is looking to build on an outstanding performance. Beno Udrih made a season-high six 3-pointers and scored 24 points Wednesday, a night after he missed eight field-goal attempts and went scoreless against the Nets.
Udrih, who spent the last three seasons playing limited minutes off the bench for San Antonio, is averaging 14.5 points and 4.6 assists while filling in at point guard for the injured Mike Bibby (thumb). Udrih had 24 points against Denver earlier this month.
The hottest player for the Nuggets has been Allen Iverson, who has scored at least 30 points in four straight games. Denver, however, has lost three of those games while seeing its division lead shrink to a half-game over red-hot Portland.
Iverson and Carmelo Anthony each scored 34 points on Friday but the Nuggets lost 99-96 to the Trail Blazers, who won an NBA season-high 10th straight game. That loss came one night after Iverson and Anthony combined for 73 points against Houston in a 112-111 double-overtime victory at home.
While Anthony was held to 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting in the last meeting with Denver, Iverson had 23 points and 10 assists.