After another last minute loss on Friday night to the New York Knicks, the Sacramento Kings jump right back into the fire Saturday night against the Utah Jazz in a brutal home and road back-to-back.
Embroiled in off-the-court controversy, forward Matt Barnes missed Friday night’s game against the Knicks with what coach Dave Joerger deemed “scheduled rest.” After sitting out 12 of the Kings’ previous 16 games as a healthy scratch, and playing just 29 total minutes since Nov. 1, veteran Anthony Tolliver got the call and filled in admirably for Barnes. Tolliver finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench in the loss to New York.
The Jazz played without four starters Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors and lost by a final of 106-99. Joe Ingles came off Quin Snyder’s bench to score 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from long range and big man Rudy Gobert stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting night and added 17 rebounds.
Jazz by 5.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Rudy Gobert -- Cousins continues to dominate the action for Sacramento, averaging 28.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Gobert is one of the game’s best defensive bigs, posting 2.6 blocks per night for Utah. He’s improved greatly as a scorer and rebounder as well, averaging 11.6 points on an NBA-best 66.4 percent shooting, while grabbing 11.5 rebounds a game.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 8-14, fourth place in Pacific
Jazz: 14-10, second place in Northwest
Kings: F Matt Barnes (rest) sat out Friday night’s game, but according to coach Dave Joerger, he is expected to play Saturday night in Utah.
Jazz: PG George Hill (toe) out, SG Rodney Hood (hamstring) out, PF Derrick Favors (knee) out, G Alec Burks (knee/ankle) out. Gordon Hayward (finger) likely to play.
The Kings won the season series over the Jazz 2-1 last year, but Utah leads the all-time series 99-81 and holds a 76-48 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
“It hurts. What hurts the most is we’re not playing the right way. With this group that we have, with the team that we have, we should be able to play the right way throughout the whole game. We’re all veteran players. We all understand how to play, but there’s times throughout the game, you know what I mean, it don’t seem like we’re really sacrificing for one another.” -Darren Collison on the Kings’ struggles
Programming note – Sharks-Hurricanes coverage starts today at 7:0s0 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 15-10-1, 31 points, 4th Pacific Division
Hurricanes: 11-10-6, 28 points, 7th Metropolitan Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***There’s a strong chance that Aaron Dell will start in net tonight, in the second of a back-to-back. On Nov. 15 in Carolina, Dell made 32 saves but got no goal support in a 1-0 Hurricanes win over San Jose. Coach Pete DeBoer said on Friday before the Ducks game that he “hadn’t even thought” about who would start on Saturday, and with no morning skate, we won’t know until closer to game time.
Dell is 2-1-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in four games this season.
***The Sharks are concluding a stretch tonight of eight games out of 10 in their own building, where they are 9-4-0 on the season. A four-game road trip begins on Tuesday in Toronto.
Carolina is wrapping up a three-game trip through California, losing to the Ducks in a shootout on Wednesday, 6-5, and beating the Kings on Thursday, 3-1.
***Carolina brings the NHL’s best penalty kill into the game, allowing just six goals on 75 chances (92.0 percent). San Jose has one power play goal in six of its last nine games (6-for-26, 23.0 percent), not including Brent Burns’ score on Friday, which came just one second after a power play had expired.
***San Jose has two or fewer goals in nine of its last 12 games, going 6-5-1 over that span. Of their 27 goals during that time, nearly half of them have come from Logan Couture (7g) and Burns (6g).
Burns brings a three-game goal streak into tonight’s game.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The rookie forward, who turns 21 on Monday, scored against the Ducks on Friday for his third in 14 games. All three of Labanc’s goals have either tied the game or put San Jose ahead. The Sharks are desperately looking for players other than their stars to put the puck in the net, and Labanc seems to be gaining confidence after a brief stint in the AHL last weekend.
Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen. Acquired from Chicago in the offseason, the 22-year-old center recorded his first career multi-goal game with Carolina on Wednesday in Anaheim. The18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and a Finland native, has seven goals and 12 points in 27 games.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Aaron Dell (likely starter)
Jeff Skinner – Victor Rask – Phil DiGiuseppe
Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen – Lee Stempniak
Brock McGinn – Derek Ryan – Andrej Nestrasil
Joakim Nordstrom – Jay McClement – Viktor Stalberg
Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin – Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin – Matt Tennyson
Sharks: David Schlemko (right ankle) is questionable. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.
Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm (lower body) is day-to-day. Bryan Bickell (MS), Jordan Staal (concussion) are out.
“If we keep playing our game, we feel confident. We’re not giving up a whole lot. Moments in the season like this you’ve got to push through.” – Joe Pavelski, after the Sharks’ 3-2 loss in Anaheim on Friday