The Sacramento Kings faced a major uphill battle on Sunday night at the Golden 1 Center. They had played their butts off in Oakland on Saturday night only to lose to the Golden State Warriors 117-116 with less than one second remaining in the game.
The team then had to travel home and get ready for a 5 PM game on Sunday against the Utah Jazz. Let’s change that to the very angry Utah Jazz.
Sacramento had played the Jazz in Salt Lake City last Wednesday and embarrassed the Utah squad in front of their home fans by handing them a 119-110 loss. You must remember that the Jazz were a playoff team last season and to be beaten at home by a bunch of upstarts like the Kings is something that is not supposed to happen in the NBA.
The Jazz entered the contest with revenge on their minds.
Back-to-back games NBA teams hate back-to-back games because they often spell disaster for them. The games on Saturday and Sunday were the Kings fifth back-to-back set of the season. They were 4-5 in those games coming in the contest with the Jazz. They had swept one series, split two series and been swept once.
The Kings needed to win on Sunday night to prevent being swept in a back-to-back series for the second time this season. They lost to the Jazz 133-112 and have now been swept twice in a back-to-back series.
Kings could not take advantage of a break The Kings (10-10) knew before the start of the game that Utah’s star guard Donovan Mitchell would not be in uniform on Sunday. Mitchell who averages 20.6 points per game is usually the “heart and soul” of the Jazz offense. His absence did not guarantee the Kings a win, but it should have given them an advantage to exploit. They were unable to do so.
Coach Dave Joerger even warned the media before the game that Utah had a deep bench that was very capable of making up for Mitchell not being in the lineup. He was correct.
Things started well for SAC The Kings jumped out to a 7-0 lead but things went downhill from there. Coach Dave Joerger did not mince words about what he saw from his team.
Marvin Bagley III scored 18 points and grabbed 6 rebounds
Harry Giles III put up 10 points, hauled in 8 rebounds and added 6 assists in just under 20 minutes of playing time
Utah Jazz leaders
Ricky Rubio was the Jazz unlikely leading scorer. The point guard hardly ever shoots yet on Sunday he shot 11-for-16 from the floor and went 2-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc. He scored 27 points while distributing 5 assists and adding 7 rebounds.
Rudy Gobert posted a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. This was his 18th double-double of the season
Joe Ingles was quiet for much of the game and then suddenly had 18 points
The Jazz (9-11) will be back in action on Monday night when they host the Pacers in Salt Lake City
The Kings are off until Thursday night when they will welcome Clippers to the Golden 1 Center
The Jazz and Kings will meet one more time this season in SLC on April 5, 2019
The Sacramento Kings ended a nightmare five games in seven nights stretch with a “Battle Royale” versus the playoff bound Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Saturday night. The Kings played a very competitive game for a full 48-minutes but came up just short losing to the Jazz 103-97.
The Kings had to battle the talent of the Jazz, the fatigue of having played at Golden State on Friday night and playing at altitude – SLC sits 4226 feet above sea level. Sacramento played those five games in five different cities – only the Miami game was played in SAC. They also played in three different time zones. Even under those adverse conditions, the Kings finished this punishing part of their schedule with two wins and three loses.
Despite not arriving in Utah until 2 am, Sacramento showed no fatigue starting the game fast and with high energy. The team continued to play hard in the second quarter and took a 54-50 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Kings 3-point shooting helped to carrying them in the first half as they 8-of-11 (72.7-percent) from behind the arc in the opening 24-minutes. Buddy Hield came off the bench to lead the scoring for Sacramento with 10 points while Rudy Gobert was the top scorer for the Jazz with 13.
The Kings have battled third-quarter let downs all season long but managed to avoid that problem in this game. They did fall behind by 10 points in the period but rebounded late in the quarter and trailed the Jazz by just one – 80 to 79 – after three quarters.
In the final period, the score seesawed back and forth with neither team able to take control of the game. The game was tied at 94-all with 40-seconds remaining. Joe Ingles hit two free throws to give Utah the lead then Ricky Rubio hit two from the charity stripe to give the Jazz a four-point lead 24-seconds to go.
The Kings had to foul to stop the clock and keep the game close. They fouled Gobert who converted two free throws to make it six-point game. Garrett Temple hit a 3-pointer to bring the Kings back within three-points then they had to foul Ingles again. Ingles hit the first free throw but missed the second. Gobert grabbed the rebound slammed the ball home to give the Jazz a 103-97 lead which would be the final score.
Buddy Hield came off the bench to be the leading scorer for his team with 23-points. “Buddy Buckets” shot 9-for-15 for the game and hit 5-of-8 3-point attempts. Hield also led his team with six assists.
Bogdan Bogdanovic posted 12 points but had a tough night shooting. He hit just 5-of-17 shots overall and was 2-for-3 from long-range.
Fox scored 11-points, grabbed four rebounds, made four steals and handed out two assists but also struggled from the field hitting just 4-of-13 attempts.
Garrett Temple had a good game coming off the bench to score 11-points. He shot 4-for-7 and was a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown.
Other Sac contributors: Cauley-Stein 9-points, Koufos and Mason III 8 each, Labissiere 7, Sampson 6, Jackson 2.
Rookie of the year candidate Donovan Mitchell was the high-scorer for the game with 28-points. Mitchell shot 11-for-21 from the field but was an awful 1-for-8 from 3-point land. He hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Rudy Gobert recorded a double-double scoring 22 points and hauling in 13 rebounds.
Ricky Rubio was expected to miss the game after being injured in the Suns game on Thursday, but he did make the start. The point guard scored 14-points, recorded nine rebounds and dished out five dimes.
Joe Ingles posted 14 points, seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists.
By the Numbers
The Kings bench outscored the Utah reserves 56-15. Dave Joerger would like to have that kind of bench production every game.
SAC was hot from behind the arc as they hit 14-of-21 (66.7-percent) from 3-point range versus the Jazz.
The team shot an acceptable 43-percent (37-for-86) for the game.
The Kings recorded 33 rebounds versus 48 for the Jazz.
Sacramento scored 20 points off 16 Utah turnovers.
SAC dished out 23 assists versus 14 turnovers.
The Kings went to the free throw line just 14 times while Utah went to the stripe 38 times.
Second chance points may have been the key to the Jazz win Saturday night. Utah scored eight second chance points to just three for the Kings.
Success at the free throw line was also a major contributing factor in Jazz win. They converted 31-of-38 opportunities from line. Sacramento went 9-for-14 shooting free throws.
UTA dominated the battle in the paint outscoring SAC 46-30 down low.
Utah shot 44.6-percent (33-for-74) for the contest.
They did not have a great not from downtown hitting just 6-of-24 (25-percent) from 3-point range.
SAC opens a six-game homestand with the Detroit Pistons on Monday night at the Golden 1 Center. The Pistons made a big trade for Blake Griffin to make a drive for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference but are now six games out of contention for the eighth and final postseason spot.
UTA will stay in Salt Lake City and prepare for the “tanking” Atlanta Hawks who will come to town on Tuesday night. The Hawks occupy last place in the NBA East. Atlanta will continue their road trip on Thursday night in Sacramento.