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Kings 109, Nuggets 95

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Forward Rudy Gay scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, guard Isaiah Thomas added 33 points, and the Sacramento Kings beat the Denver Nuggets 109-95 Sunday night.

Center DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who won their second game in a row.

Guard Evan Fournier scored a career-high 27 points and guard Randy Foye also had 27 for Denver, which lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Sacramento shook up its roster at the trade deadline by sending guard Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets, and his exit will give rookie guard Ben McLemore more room to develop.

On Sunday, the Kings didn't need much from McLemore because their top three scorers showed the way. Cousins, whose availability was a game-time decision because of a left hip flexor injury, scored 11 points in the first quarter as Sacramento took an early seven-point lead.

The Nuggets have struggled on both ends of the court since embarking on a four-game road trip before the All-Star break. They lost four times by 27 points or more, and their only win since Feb. 5 was against the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.

The absence of guard Ty Lawson was mitigated, somewhat, by the arrival of point guard Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets. Brooks helped solidify Denver's rotation, allowing players to return to their natural positions.

Even so, the Nuggets had no answers when the Kings' big three came alive in the third quarter. The trio scored 35 points in the period as the Kings outscored Denver 39-18.

Gay and Thomas combined for 24 points during a stretch in which the Kings outscored Denver 32-6.

Thomas ended the quarter with a three-point play with less than a second remaining to give Sacramento a 87-70 lead.

The Nuggets got within 10 on forward Wilson Chandler's 3-pointer midway through the fourth, but Gay's third three-point play of the half made it 101-84.

There was a noticeable difference in Denver's offense in the first half before things fell apart in the third quarter. Before the break, Fournier was 6-for-8 from the field looked energized coming off the bench. Denver rebounded from a slow start to take a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter.

Thomas and Gay helped the Kings get within 52-48 at intermission.

NOTES: Nuggets G Ty Lawson missed his sixth consecutive game with a fractured rib on his left side. "I'm feeling better," he said. "I did some running (on the practice court before the game) and it felt good. Just little sore." ... The Kings announced that newly acquired G Jason Terry would spend the rest of the season rehabbing his injured left knee. ... Nuggets F Darrell Arthur didn't play due to a hip injury suffered in Friday's loss to the Chicago Bulls. ... Kings F Rudy Gay began the night averaging 20 points and 5.6 rebounds since coming over in a trade with the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 9.
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