A game of runs. The Sacramento Kings began the night with an 11-0 run, but that lead didn’t last long in Utah on Saturday evening. They did it again to start the third quarter, hitting the Jazz with a quick 10-0 burst to start the half, but again, Utah reeled them back in.
In the end, it was the home team that was able to pull away at the right moment as the Jazz thumped the Kings in the fourth quarter for a 104-84 victory at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Rudy Gobert proved he is much more than just a defender. The 7-foot-1 Frenchman dropped in 17 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks while holding DeMarcus Cousins to just 7-for-22 shooting.
Gordon Hayward missed the Jazz’ last contest with a finger issue and he didn’t 100 percent against the Kings early on. But the veteran wing got it going when it mattered, scoring 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the win.
Trey Lyles added 14 off the bench.and Joe Ingles scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Rudy Gay got off to a fast start against Hayward but couldn’t sustain the solid play throughout the game. Gay score 14 of his 20 points in the first half and he added five rebounds.
In a battle of the bigs, Cousins struggled early, and he struggled late against the defensive-minded Gobert. Cousins finished the night off his season averages, but still managed to post 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Omri Casspi is becoming a fixture in Dave Joerger’s rotation. The veteran wing kept the Kings in the game in the second quarter as Utah made a big run. Casspi starter the second half for Kosta Koufos and managed to score 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 30 minutes.
The point guard tandem of Darren Collison and Ty Lawson took advantage of George Hill’s absence. Collison came out firing after halftime, posting 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting and Lawson chipped in five points and four assists in the loss.
STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Gobert posted solid numbers, but his effect on a game goes well beyond the stat book. The Kings looked timid in the paint all night long, fearing that the long-armed shot blocker
TURNING POINT -- Utah jumped all over the Kings to start the fourth quarter and Sacramento had very little left in the tank on the second night of a back-to-back. The Jazz outscored the Kings 26-8 in the final frame on their way to the 20 point victory.
INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento continues to travel 12 healthy bodies with their three rookies in Reno with the Bighorns.
WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return to Golden 1 Center Monday night to face the Los Angeles Lakers before heading out for another three games on the road.
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