Malik Monk capped a 26-point performance off the bench with a critical 3-pointer with 1:12 to play Saturday night and the host Sacramento Kings overcame Nikola Jokic’s eighth triple-double of the season for a 123-117 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
De’Aaron Fox (26 points, game-high 16 assists) and Domantas Sabonis (17 points, game-high 15 rebounds) chipped in with double-doubles for the Kings, who won for the third time in their last four games in their final tuneup before the NBA in-season tournament quarterfinals on Monday night.
Jokic had a game-high 36 points and team-highs in rebounds (13) and assists (14) for the Nuggets, who welcomed back Aaron Gordon from a heel injury but were without Jamal Murray for the second straight game due to a sprained right ankle.
After leading most of the way, Sacramento was up just 112-110 after Jokic hit a 3-pointer with 3:06 to go. Fox responded with a jumper and, after a scoreless 1:32, Monk nailed his back-breaking three for a 117-110 lead.
Seeking a fifth straight win, Denver got as close as 121-117 with five seconds left, but Fox iced the Sacramento victory with two free throws with 2.2 seconds to go.
The Nuggets trailed by as many as 17 points and were still down 108-95 with 5:58 remaining before making things interesting. Reggie Jackson and Gordon drilled 3-pointers in a 10-0 flurry that made it a three-point game with 4:10 to go, setting up the tight finish.
Monk and Kevin Huerter each had four 3-pointers and Fox added three on a night when the Kings shot 47.1 from beyond the arc and outscored the visitors 48-18 from distance.
Fox added three steals and Sabonis contributed seven assists, while Huerter finished with 16 points and Harrison Barnes scored 11.
Jokic’s big night came on 13-for-23 shooting. The Nuggets lost despite hitting 49.5 percent of their shots, getting the better of the Kings (48.5 percent) in that category.
Jackson contributed 20 points and eight assists for the Nuggets, while Gordon had 17 points and seven rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. added 13 points and Christian Braun scored 11.