Through three quarters, the Kings gave the Utah Jazz all they could handle Saturday night at the Vivint Smart Home Center. Sacramento trailed 78-76 going to the fourth and then they completely fell apart. The end result was a 104-84 loss after a brutal 26-8 drubbing in the final quarter.
The Kings shot just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) in the fourth. DeMarcus Cousins hit a jumper, Kosta Koufos tipped a ball in, Rudy Gay dropped in a 3-ball and Ben McLemore hit 1-of-2 at the line. That’s it for Sacramento in the final 12 minutes.
Sacramento played a hard fought game against the New York Knicks on Friday evening before flying to Utah for Saturday’s match up. It’s one of the most brutal home-and-away back-to-backs in the NBA, but like every other team in the league, the Kings must play the schedule in front of them.
“It could be a factor that some of us were fatigued, but the whole NBA plays under the same circumstances, so it’s no excuse,” Darren Collison told reporters following the game. “We’ve got to come out here and perform and we didn’t.”
Gay’s 3-pointer came with 5:17 remaining in the game. The Kings never hit another basket, although they scored one more point on McLemore’s made free throw.
While Sacramento wilted, the Jazz got hot. Trey Lyle hit two 3-pointers in the quarter and Gordon Hayward scored seven of his game-high 26 in the final frame. Utah moved the ball around the horn, hitting 10-of-20 shots in the quarter.
“Give them credit, they made shots and we didn’t,” Ben McLemore said following the game.
The ball movement completely stagnated for Sacramento as the Kings turned to isolation basketball. From the final score, you would never know that it was a two-point game heading into the fourth.
“Until we find a way to start playing together, we’re going to always find our way into these type of games,” Collison added.
With the loss, the Kings (8-15) dropped a season-low seven games under .500 for the first time. They have lost two straight and five of their last six games.
Sacramento has a day off before returning to Golden 1 Center Monday evening. They’ll face a Los Angeles Lakers team that is riding a five-game losing streak and has to face the Knicks Sunday night.
“It’s the NBA, you’ve got to be able to forget about the past and continue to look forward,” Collison said. “You can’t really let the past get to you. Hopefully we can come in with a better mindset and start playing for one another.”
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.