by Charlie O. Mallonee
Sacramento – Wednesday night was game one of the Sacramento Kings “youth movement” where the emphasis would be placed on getting the younger team members more time on the floor. Winning would be the secondary goal.
That sounds like a potentially painful proposition, and it proved to be very painful versus the visiting Utah Jazz.
Both teams entered the contest looking to end losing streaks. The Jazz had lost two consecutive games. The Kings were losers in their previous five match ups. This was Sacramento’s last home game before heading out on their longest road trip of the season to face Memphis, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, San Antonio and finally Boogie Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans.
This game looked winnable and they needed a win.
The Kings – who led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter – lost the lead for the final time with 8:58 remaining in the second period. They would trail by 10 points at the half, by 15 points at the end of three quarters and 15 at the final buzzer.
SAC could not find a “lock-down defense” that could stop rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell who seemed to score at will, and Rodney Hood who may have played his best game of the year for the Jazz.
Kings head coach Dave Joerger analyzed the game in nine words, ” … we need to play with a lot more nasty.”
What the coaches had to say after the game
Stars of the Game
- Rookie Guard Donovan Mitchell was without a doubt the star of the game for Utah. He scored a game-high 34 points in just over 34 minutes of playing time. Whenever a player scores a point per minute played, he has had an outstanding game. Mitchell shot 14 for 19 overall and converted five of seven from the free throw line. He also contributed three assists and made three steals.
- Rodney Hood – the fourth year player out of Duke – also had an outstanding game scoring 25 points to earn co-star honors. Hood hit nine of 16 field goal shots and made four of nine 3-point attempts. He went a perfect three for three from the charity stripe. Hood grabbed eight rebounds and made two steals.
- Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors must also receive best supporting performance awards. Ingles put up 14 points going four for seven from 3-point land. Favors also scored 14 and he pulled down 11 rebounds to make it a double-double game.
- Willie Cauley-Stein receives the star of the game for the Kings for recording a double-double. WCS scored 26 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in almost 37 minutes on the floor. He shot 11 for 18 from the field. Cauley-Stein was the Kings high-scorer.
- Sacramento’s co-star has to be Bogdan Bogdanovic who posted 25 points in 39 minutes of playing time. Bogey shot nine for 11 overall and was a perfect six for six from behind the 3-point line. He also grabbed six rebounds.
- George Hill gets a featured player credit for scoring 20 points in 36 minutes versus his former teammates. He shot six for 10 from the floor and four for five from 3-point land. Hill also recorded three steals. Many still believe that the Kings are showcasing Hill for possible trades before the February 8th trade deadline.
- The Jazz shot 56.8-percent (46 for 81) overall for the game. They hit 12 of 29 attempts from behind the 3-point line (41.4-percent).
- Utah took advantage of the free throw line converting 16 of 20 (80-percent) opportunities.
- The Jazz dished out 26 steals while committing only 10 turnovers to exceed the desired goal of a 2:1 ratio. The Kings scored 19 points off the 10 Jazz turnovers.
- Utah made 15 steals in the contest.
- The Kings shot an impressive 52.8-percent (38 for 72) from the floor. They just did not have enough attempts and conversions to keep pace with the Jazz.
- SAC shot an impressive 13 for 21 (61.9-percent) from behind the 3-point arc.
- The Kings had 19 assists and 19 turnovers. A 1 to 1 ratio is not acceptable. The Jazz scored 27 points off those 19 Sacramento turnovers.
The Kings will return to action on Friday in Memphis versus the Grizzlies. Sacramento lost to Memphis 114-96 on New Year’s Eve in SAC.
The Jazz will host the Knicks on Friday night in Salt Lake City.