Kings top Nuggets in overtime

By Jason Anderson
The Sacramento Bee/TNS

Buddy Hield made a putback basket at the buzzer to give the Kings a wild 124-122 overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets in their season opener Wednesday night at Ball Arena in Denver.

Hield scored 22 points for the Kings (1-0), who raced off the floor in jubilation after Hield scored as time expired to give them the win. Hield made 7 of 15 from the field and 5 of 11 from 3-point range.

Harrison Barnes had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Sacramento. He came up with huge steal in the final seconds, leading to the game-winning basket by Hield.

De’Aaron Fox had 21 point, seven assists and four rebounds for the Kings. Marvin Bagley III, who got the start at power forward, posted 13 points and nine rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Cory Joseph came off the bench to score 15 points. Rookie Tyrese Haliburton had 12 points and four assists in his NBA debut.

Nikola Jokic recorded a triple-double for the Nuggets (0-1), posting 29 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists and three blocked shots. Michael Porter Jr. had 24 points.

The Kings kept the game close but never led in the first half. They cut the deficit to one late in the first quarter and again early in the second quarter, but the Nuggets carried a 60-53 advantage into the halftime break.

The Kings got within one again early in the third quarter following a three-point play by Barnes and a 3-pointer by Hield. They tied the game on three free throws by Hield, went up 72-70 on a basket by Bagley with 6:55 to play in the third and took an 89-84 lead into the fourth quarter.

Hield knocked down a couple of 3-pointers early in the fourth to help the Kings extend their lead to eight. The Nuggets battled back to take a 110-109 lead on two free throws by Jokic with 2:36 to play, but Fox answered with a pull-up jumper at the other end, reclaiming the lead for Sacramento.

Jokic made two more free throws to tie the game with 29.4 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Haliburton had an open look at a corner 3-pointer and Hassan Whiteside had a chance for a putback, but the Kings couldn’t get a basket.

The Kings got the ball back with 2.6 seconds to play following an offensive foul by Jokic, but Hield lost the handle on an inbounds pass by Haliburton and couldn’t get a shot off at the buzzer.

The Kings appeared to be headed for defeat when Fox made a spectacular defensive play to block a shot by Barton, leading to a game-tying basket by Barnes.

Barnes then poked the ball away from Jokic and came up with a steal on Denver’s final possession. Barnes missed a dunk, but Hield was there for the putback as time expired.

The Sacramento KingS' Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket against the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) at Ball Arena in Denver on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.