DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets beat the Sacramento Kings 121-111 on Friday night to end a two-game losing streak. Jokic reached 20 points for the seventh straight game as Denver got reinforcements back from health and safety protocols.

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 07: Damian Jones #30 of the Sacramento Kings defends Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on January 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Forwards Jeff Green and Zeke Nnaji were activated off the COVID-19 list while Aaron Gordon and Bones Hyland played after being sent home from Thursday’s film session due to non-COVID-19 illnesses. Green had 18 points, Hyland 13 and Gordon 10.

Denver coach Michael Malone remained in health and safety protocols and has missed four straight games. Popeye Jones, in his first season as an assistant with the Nuggets, is 2-2 while serving as the acting head coach.

De’Aaron Fox had 30 points for the Kings. They have lost three straight and four of five.

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 07: Monte Morris #11 of the Denver Nuggets drives past Davion Mitchell #15 of the Sacramento Kings at Ball Arena on January 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Denver used a 16-4 run in the first quarter to break open a close game. The Kings cut it to five, but the Nuggets went up by 20 late in the second on a Jokic 3-pointer.

Sacramento closed to 66-54 at halftime and opened the third on a 12-4 run to make it 70-66. Jokic started to take over, scoring nine points in a 1:28 to push the lead to 87-72.

The King cut the deficit to eight, but the Nugget went on a 17-5 run into the fourth quarter to pull away.

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 07: Aaron Gordon #50 of the Denver Nuggets dunks against the Sacramento Kings at Ball Arena on January 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

TIP-INS

Kings: F Richaun Holmes and C Chimezie Metu are still in health and safety protocols. Sacramento made Neemias Queta, Jahmi’us Ramsey and Robert Woodard II available Friday night. … Terence Davis (ankle) was available after being sidelined for five games.

Nuggets: F Petr Cornelie entered health and safety protocols on Friday morning. … F Vlatko Cancar had surgery on Friday morning to repair a fracture of his fifth metatarsal. He suffered the injury Monday at Dallas. … Assistant coach Jordi Fernandez returned from COVID-19 health and safety protocols. … Denver had a season-high 70 points in the paint.

UP NEXT

Kings: At Portland on Sunday night.
Nuggets: At Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

By MICHAEL KELLY The Associated Press

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