Kings just get by Jazz 126-125; Huerter supplies offense scores 30

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) is defended by Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter (9) in the first quarter at Golden 1 Arena Sacramento on Fri Dec 30, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Jeremiah Salmonson

SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings were back in action on Friday night after a day off on Thursday. The Kings were coming off a split in a two-game series with the Denver Nuggets, where the Kings won the second game of the back-to-back. On Friday, the Kings welcomed in the Utah Jazz for a 7 PM PST matchup. The Kings managed to squeak by the Jazz 126-125 at home. 

In the first quarter, the Kings came out with good energy. However, they were a little sloppy on the defensive end. The Kings received several ticky-tac fouls that hurt them in the first quarter. One of those fouls was a flagrant penalty one foul against KZ Okpala. Yet, the Kings still managed to outscore the Jazz 30-27 in the first quarter. Domantas Sabonis started the Kings early with nine points.

In the second quarter, not much changed. Neither team went on any big runs. The Kings three point advantage they entered the quarter with would remain the same headed into halftime. The Kings and Jazz each scored 30 points in the second quarter to send the game to halftime, with the Kings leading 60-57.

It was a disappointing quarter for the Kings; just a minute before the conclusion, they had as much as an eight-point lead. Domantas Sabonis led the Kings in the first half with 13 points. Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 13 points.

In the third quarter, the game remained tight. The Kings and Jazz couldn’t figure each other out enough to go on a large run. The Kings scored 31 points, while the Jazz could only score 30. It wasn’t much of a lead increase, but the Kings would take it. The Kings would go into the final quarter leading the game 91-87. Could they finish what they started and wrap up the win? 

In the fourth quarter, the Kings managed to finish off the win against the Jazz. Granted, it was by the thinnest of margins, as the final was 126-125. In the final quarter, the Jazz outscored the Kings 38-35. The Sacramento faithful got what they wanted, as it was a playoff atmosphere in Golden 1 Center.

In defeat, Lauri Markkanen was on fire scoring 36 points and nearly leading the Jazz to victory. For the Kings, Kevin Huerter led the way with 30 points and a clutch three-pointer which would be the difference. De’Aaron Fox also came up big with 11 points in the fourth.

All that to say, Domantas Sabonis continues to be the MVP of the Kings. Domas, while injured, put up 28 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. It was an excellent win for the Kings, who improved to 19-15 on the season. 

Up Next: The Kings head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies at 5 PM on Sunday, Jan 1st.

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