Minus coach, Nuggets still pummel Kings

Will Barton and the Nuggets manhandled the hapless Kings.

The Denver Nuggets didn’t have coach Mike Malone and two starters, but the opponent was the Sacramento Kings.

And right now, the Kings are making a strong case for the NBA’s worst team.

Will Barton recorded 25 points, six rebounds and five assists, and the Nuggets coasted to a 114-98 win over the host Kings on Monday.

Malone missed the game while serving a one-game suspension after getting ejected during the previous game. The Nuggets were also without injured starting forwards Paul Millsap and Wilson Chandler.

Barton said he thought Malone was joking when Malone told him he had been suspended.

“I told him we’d hold it down for him,” Barton said to reporters.

Gary Harris added 20 points and Jamal Murray scored 18. Assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. replaced Malone on the Denver sidelines.

“Given the circumstances, I’ll take it,” Unseld Jr. told reporters. “The minute (we) got in here from the team bus they knew it was a task at hand. We were under adverse circumstances and had no other option than to pull it together.”

George Hill scored 16 points to lead the Kings (4-13).