Kings topple depleted Nuggets; Randle leads Knicks over Trail Blazers

SOARING - Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings grabs the rebound during the game against the Denver Nuggets on February 6, 2021 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. (AFP)

Harrison Barnes scored 28 points as the red-hot Sacramento Kings overcame Nikola Jokic's 50-point night with a 119-114 victory over the under-manned Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

The Kings used a balanced scoring attack to continue their dominance over the Nuggets. They have won all three contests this season and six of the past seven duels.

The Kings have won six of seven after opening the season 5-10.

"It's hard work and trust that has led us to a turnaround," coach Luke Walton said. "The group's continued to believe in each other, believe in what we're building. There's just a confidence with the group and we're giving ourselves chances."

Jokic shot 20-of-33 from the floor to post a career high points total for Denver, who have lost three of their last four games. He also dished out 12 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. 

The Nuggets played without All-Star Jamal Murray, who sat out with a sore left knee.

Canada's Murray is averaging 19 points and five assists a game this season. Gary Harris (left adductor strain) missed his second consecutive game, and P.J. Dozier (right hamstring strain) missed his fifth game in a row for Denver. 

Murray was replaced in the starting lineup by Monte Morris, who tallied 11 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Paul Millsap finished with 14 points, Will Barton 11 and JaMychal Green 10. 

Four Kings players scored 20 or more points, including rookie Tyrese Haliburton with 23 points on eight-of-12 shooting.

De'Aaron Fox finished with 24 points and five assists, while Richaun Holmes posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. 

Elsewhere, Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton each scored 22 points and the New York Knicks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99 in a matinee game.

Randle added a team-high 11 rebounds while the Knicks had 18 points from Canada's R.J. Barrett and 16 more from reserve Alec Burks among six double-digit scorers.

"We're just trying to play hard. Winning plays happen when you play hard and that's what happened," Burks said.

Burks, on his sixth club in just over two NBA seasons, said the hunger to outhustle their rivals motivated New York's 50-28 dominance on points in the paint and let them hold off a Portland rally down the stretch.

"Just contest every shot, stay hot, play our same defense, play hard, get our rebounds," he said. "And that's what we did."

The Knicks improved to 11-13, sixth in the Eastern Conference, with their second win in a row while the Trail Blazers fell to 12-10, level with San Antonio and Golden State for sixth in the Western Conference.

Damian Lillard led Portland with a game-high 29 points while Gary Trent Jr. added 19.