KINGS AT NUGGETS, 9 P.M. ET

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  • Kings coach Keith Smart said his team needs to come out strong despite playing Friday night at home and traveling late. “When you come in here you have to control the tempo of the game, based on not what they do but what you do as far as taking care of the ball and not give them easy points to set the tone,” Smart said. “Obviously playing a game on a back-to-back and try to get here and play, you’re going to be disoriented for the moment. You’ve got to get a good, hard workout early just to break that seal while you’re adjusting to the altitude.”
  • The Nuggets play their next six games at home, which will cap a stretch of 15 of 18 at Pepsi Center. Denver started the season playing 22 of its first 32 on the road and hope to have a lot of momentum when it hits the road again next month. Despite the stretch of home games coach George Karl isn’t banking wins before the games are played. “Everyone thinks we should win all these games; I’m not into that,” he said. “I’d like to see us win seven or eight games in the next 10. If we do that we’ll be in a good place. But if we don’t do that we won’t be in a bad place.”
  • The Kings have won four road games this year but three have come in January. Saturday’s game kicks off a six-game road trip that spans three time zones. “We have to try and figure out a way to win and steal a couple of games out here,” Smart said. “It’s very difficult for even good teams on the road. When you have teams like our team trying to find itself on the road and trying to establish itself, the biggest thing is taking care of the basketball. If you can do that, you have a chance.”
  • Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins (20) and Denver’s Kenneth Faried (19) are among the leaders in double-doubles. Cousins had a streak of six straight ended Friday against Oklahoma City. Faried went scoreless in Wednesday’s win at Houston.

– Michael Kelly

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