November 03, 2014

The Denver Nuggets must feel fortunate that they won't face Sacramento Kings star DeMarcus Cousins.

They have allowed Cousins to score at least 30 points four straight times, including twice in losses this season, but won't have to worry about him Saturday night in Denver.

The volatile center earned an automatic one-game suspension after picking up his 16th technical foul of the season in Wednesday's 120-111 home win over Washington in which he had 29 points and 10 boards. He sat out Friday's 112-106 defeat to Miami and is expected to rest Saturday while playing only home games for the remainder of the season.

That's good news for the Nuggets (32-45) since Cousins is averaging 34.5 points in his last four games against them, totaling 76 on 59.1 percent shooting to go with a total of 29 boards in two this season to help Sacramento (30-46) move within a game of a season sweep.

The Kings are 2-11 without Cousins this season and 13-43 overall when he doesn't play.

The big man's absence could prevent Saturday's game from being the typical, high-scoring affair these teams have contested over the last two seasons. All six matchups in that span have seen both teams crack 105 points, with the Kings winning 116-110 on Feb. 19 and 114-110 four days later.

Denver had a healthy Danilo Gallinari then and won't have the injured high-scoring forward this time.

The Nuggets look to recover after falling 101-95 on the road Thursday to a short-handed New Orleans club. Darrell Arthur led the way with 24 points as no Denver starter had more than the 16 by Gary Harris.

''I feel like every game at this point is a learning experience,'' coach Michael Malone said. ''It's a game we definitely should have won, but we didn't come out with the energy or do what we needed to do to win.''

It was a rough experience for Will Barton, who missed all eight shots and scored six points after he totaled 48 in his previous two games.

The Nuggets are also seeking to start a new home win streak after a five-game run at Pepsi Center ended with Monday's 97-88 defeat to Dallas.

Rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is averaging 15.3 points in his last three games. He has totaled 19 on 9-of-27 shooting against Sacramento.

The Kings had a three-game home win streak snapped Friday despite facing a Heat team playing without superstar Dwyane Wade. They cut a 24-point deficit down to one in the fourth quarter.

''We've been dealing with injuries and we've been dealing with other things off the court,'' guard Darren Collison said. ''I'm just proud guys have continued to stay with it. It's going to pay off in the near future, believe it or not."

Collison scored a season-high 26 and Seth Curry matched his career best with 21 for the second time in three games.

Forward Omri Casspi is day to day after leaving Friday with a strained right hamstring.

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