The Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell (front) tries to out run and out gun Sacramento Kings Davion Mitchell (15) in first half action at the Golden One Center in Sacramento on Fri Oct 22, 2021 (AP News photo)
SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings (1-1) on Wednesday night opened up the season on the road in Portland with a win. The Kings were excited to return home on Friday night to a packed Golden One Center crowd that hadn’t been allowed in the since March of 2020. The Kings opened the season on Wednesday pulling out a narrow victory 124-121 in the unfriendly confines in Portland.
The Kings were set to face the Utah Jazz (2-0) on Friday. Utah came into Friday’s matchup having played on Wednesday in Utah. They handily beat the OKC Thunder 107-86. The Kings took a tough loss on Friday night 110-101 for their first loss of the season.
First Half: The Kings played an up and down half.
The intensity in the first quarter was palpable as the Kings began putting on an offensive show for the home crowd. In the first quarter, the Kings outscored the Jazz 26-24 as Harrison Barnes led the way for the Kings in the first quarter as he scored 8 points.
It should be noted that the Jazz Joe Ingles was ejected after a flagrant two foul was assessed him on a foul against Davion Mitchell. The foul took the legs out from under Mitchell and so the penalty was handed down. The Kings would look to keep the defensive intensity up in the second quarter to keep the lead at halftime.
In the second quarter, the Kings offense stalled a bit. Thankfully for the Kings, the Jazz weren’t able to do much on the offensive end either. The Jazz only scored 22 points in the quarter as the Kings defense kept the pressure on the shooters of the Jazz.
On the other hand, the Kings managed to score 26 points to pull even further ahead of the Jazz heading into halftime. The Kings would take a 52-46 into halftime looking to seal things off in the second half. Leading the way for the Kings in the first half was Harrison Barnes who scored 12 points. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz as he also scored 12 points.
Second Half: The Kings would come out with good energy in the second half.
In the third quarter, the Kings entered the quarter with good offensive and defensive intensity. However, as the quarter progressed the Kings would lose grip on the lead. The Jazz went on a run to end the quarter and managed to score 35 points compared to the Kings 28 points.
The Kings missed some rotations on defense and as a whole, the Jazz shot the ball much better. The Jazz took an 81-80 lead into the final quarter. The Kings would need to tighten up the defensive end and start hitting more shots to win the game.
In the fourth quarter, the teams traded baskets for the majority of the quarter. The Jazz went on a bit of a run to start followed by the Kings coming back and tying the game with 4:57 left in the game. The sequence was punctuated by a Tyrese Haliburton steal and dunk.
For the remainder of the game, the Jazz took over the momentum. The Jazz ended up scoring 29 points compared to the Kings 21. A careless turnover with under two minutes left desperately cost the Kings as it shifted the momentum fully to the Jazz who took advantage.
It was a strong effort from the Kings but ultimately the shooting of the Jazz down the stretch did the Kings in. Leading the way for the Kings in defeat was Harrison Barnes who scored 25 points closely followed by Buddy Hield who scored 24. The Jazz were treated to a 27 point game from Donovan Mitchell to lead the way in victory.
Up Next: The Kings will take on the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at 6 PM PST in Sacramento.