By Charlie O. Mallonee
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.
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.
- The Jazz outscored the Kings in the paint 66-52
- Utah scored 17 second Chance Points to Sacramento’s 9
- The Kings did win the battle of fastbreak points 13-12
- The Jazz shot 53.3% (49/52) for the game while the Kings shot 47.1% (40/85)
- UTA out-rebounded SAC 49-36
- The Jazz dished out 30 assists while committing 19 turnovers (23 Kings points)
- The Kings recorded 20 assists and turned it over 17 times (23 Utah points)
De’Aaron Fox on the loss to the Jazz
- Kings high scorer was Bogdan Bogdanovic with 20 points in his first start of the season
- De’Aaron Fox scored 13 points while dishing out 3 assists and adding 3 steals
- 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