Kings thankful after 119-110 defeat of the Jazz

November 21, 2018

NBA, Sacramento Kings

Photo credit: @SacramentoKings

By: London Marq 

Less than a week removed from reports that the Sacramento Kings’ front office were considering firing head coach Dave Joerger due to Marvin Bagley, the second overall pick from this year’s draft, not being in the starting lineup. The news put Kings fans and local media outlets on edge. After the best start to an NBA season in recent memory, this situation seemingly mirrored one four seasons ago when the Kings abruptly fired coach Mike Malone after starting the season 10-5. When the news broke about a possible firing of Joerger, the Kings were 8-8 with a number of meaningful wins under their belt and on pace to make a serious run to end the 12-year playoff drought.

Since then the Kings have won two games–one at home versus the triple-double machine Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and tonight, a huge win on the road against the defensive juggernaut Jazz. Kings general manager Vlade Divac announced before both of these games that Joerger’s job is safe, that the organization has complete confidence in him. That being said, nothing solves problems like winning does.

The Kings traveled into Vivint Smart Home Arena seeking revenge against the Utah Jazz, a team they have lost to earlier this season. The Kings came out like they wanted it. Two of the Kings’ surprise stars this season, Nemanja Bjelica and Iman Shumpert, each knocked down a shots from beyond the arc to open up the game, setting the tone you would want to start a game in front of a hostile crowd. De’Aaron Fox also came out of the locker room with a purpose. In the first 10 minutes, he stuffed his stat sheet with six points, five rebounds and five assists. The Kings would end the first quarter up by 13 as the Jazz failed to find a consistent rhythm.

In the second quarter, the Jazz would find some pace and the lead would be reduced to three, but they weren’t able to snag the lead as the Kings continued to play well on both sides of the ball. The Jazz were never able to get momentum as Donovan Mitchell (35 points, 3 assists) was forced to do all the heavy lifting. Buddy Hield, who seemed almost nonexistent in the first two quarters would show up right before half time with a huge three right before time expired, keeping the fire alive.

The Kings would be outscored in the third quarter, but the game remained close as Willie Cauley-Stein continued what is his hottest start to an NBA season in his young career. He would finish the game with 23 points and seven rebounds. The Jazz finally found the rhythm on offence with Joe Ingles (12 points, 7 assists) got into the mix. Despite all of the effort from the Jazz to keep the game close, they would still trail the Kings by one going into the fourth quarter, after Fox slashed to basket at the end of the third quarter to grab the lead back.

The Kings would ride that momentum and jumped out to a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. However, a sight many Kings fans have seen before seemed to be unfolding as the Jazz began to mount a comeback, with a little bit of help from the refs. The Kings showing signs of growth, were able to fight the odds that never seem to be in their favor and hold onto the lead and mount a huge win against a strong team on the road.  

A huge win in the face of a possible coaching controversy, and the best defensive team in the NBA.They are playing intense, complimentary basketball on both sides of the ball. Something the Kings haven’t done in over a decade. Don’t look now, the Kings may be for real.

The Kings will play the Jazz in the final of three games between them this season in four days on November 25. With each team taking a win apiece, it’s sure to be quite the rematch with the winner taking home bragging rights.

The Kings defeated the Jazz 119-110. 

The Kings head to Oracle Arena to take on the Warriors on Saturday, November 24 at 5:30 pm PT.

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