The Kings suffered another defeat, this one a 94-83 loss in Utah that felt a lot more like 94-40. Sacramento's offense was again anemic, which really makes me believe Geoff Petrie does tarot, and drew the Ace of Terrible Shots Missing Badly when he made his puzzling comments about the Kings' scoring prowess a week ago. When Petrie said the Kings struggle on offense, the Kings had actually been halfway decent. Now, since the comments? The Kings cannot buy a bucket with cash, gold or plastic. They have tried it all, and none of it works.
Thus, another solid defensive effort goes wasted. Luther Head held Deron Williams to 12 points on 4-14 shooting, a third straight fantastic performance from Head in his third straight game starting alongside Tyreke Evans in the backcourt. But Head's offense did no better than Williams', with the King shooting 3-9. Evans was 3-12, taking a lot of out-of-control lay-up attempts and turning the ball over three times, again.
The Kings actually had a 22-20 lead at the first intermission. It all went to ash from there. Utah dominated the second quarter 25-14, and Sacramento didn't make a run of any import until the game was decided very late in the fourth. In the end, both teams underperformed on offense, but the Jazz limited turnovers and hit more shots.
The first quarter defense was jarringly good for the third game straight. Williams couldn't get by Head, Donte Greene and Samuel Dalembert protected the rim. It was wonderful. It didn't last when the bench entered. C.J. Miles lit up Francisco Garcia, and Utah's big men -- Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap -- were able to score on Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins. The Jazz also took the opportunity to get out in transition and burn the Kings a few times to open up a small lead, one which would soon get out of hand.
It's hard to determine which of Evans or Cousins were more out of control early in the game. Cousins eventually loosened up and start hitting jumpers, and despite his perilous drives he drew a bunch of fouls and hit eight of the team's 20 free throws. The final line for him read 18 points on 5-13 shooting with nine rebounds and two turnovers, easily the best performance of any King. That he fought and fought in the hopeless fourth was reaffirming, and terrific.
But he still felt completely ... unsettled all game. His rough second quarter did as much to dig the Kings' hole as anything else. He has a long way to go.
If you tried to count the number of possessions in which the Kings had a good idea but got a bad shot, you'd run out of fingers. Speed of initiating the offense wasn't the problem here, execution was. Head had a few runners that weren't close, Evans had some really wild attempts, and Greene's threes wouldn't fall. Carl Landry has a rough time in the paint, as did (surprise?) Jason Thompson.