This was definitely a rough one.
The Jazz came out firing on all cylinders, and despite a gutsy comeback attempt led by Ben McLemore of all people, Sacramento fell off late and lost to the Jazz 112 to 82. Six Jazz players scored in double digits, led by Gordon Hayward’s 20 points.
As Dave Joerger indicated after Monday’s win against the Grizzlies, the vets are going to see less and less time. Kosta Koufos, Garrett Temple and Arron Afflalo all sat out of tonight’s game and Skal Labissiere led the team in minutes at 32.
Sacramento struggled to score all night despite shooting a decent 45.3% from the field. They had an uncharacteristic night from outside, only making two of their 15 three point attempts. Buddy Hield had easily his worst game in a Sacramento Kings uniform, scoring just 2 points in 29 minutes on 1-7 shooting and 0-3 from downtown. Veteran Tyreke Evans wasn’t much better, shooting 4-12.
The only reason the game was as close as it was (and we’re talking about a 30 point blowout loss here) was because of a huge second quarter performance by Ben McLemore. McLemore scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, featuring some aggressive takes to the basket. It was the best we’ve seen Ben play in a while, although even he struggled with his outside shot and only made 1-4 from three. The Kings were down by as much as 24 points early on in the game but managed to bring it all the way back to two at one point. But Utah clamped back down and really turned it on in the fourth quarter where they outscored the Kings by 19.
The Kings had a real tough time defending the Jazz tonight, allowing Utah to shoot 52.2% from the field and 40.6% from three. Rodney Hood in particular was on fire from outside, making all five of his attempts on his way to 18 points. Utah made 11 more threes than the Kings tonight, but even that was far from the biggest difference in the game. Utah, despite shooting better, also had 5 more offensive rebounds than Sacramento. Rudy Gobert had 4 of those as part of his game-high 15 rebounds.
For the Kings, this was a tough loss after two gutsy wins in a row, and now they’ll have to face their former teammate DeMarcus Cousins on Friday as Sacramento embarks on a mini road trip.
For the opponent’s perspective, visit SLC Dunk.