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Kings vs. Jazz Preview: Keepin’ That Same Energy

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After a last second loss on Saturday night, the Kings will have to go after a Utah Jazz that are short Donovan Mitchell.

Kimani Okearah

The Sacramento Kings have returned home after a nail-biter in Oakland, and have legitimately zero time to waste: the Jazz are here looking for another round of that sweet, sweet Wile E. Coyote vs. the Road Runner action. This time however the Jazz will be without team leader and leading scorer Donovan Mitchell who is sidelined with a rib injury. If I know one thing about the Sacramento Kings, it means that I could close my eyes point and point at a random name on the Jazz roster and they were about to go off for thirty-five points in a funky trap game victory march. Luckily, I’ve been told by Facebook comments and random Twitter users from other fanbases continue to remind me that I know nothing about basketball; So we’re all good!

(My finger landed on Grayson Allen and he is so going to chip in sixteen points today)

Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: Sunday, November 25th; 5:00 pm PST

Where: Golden One Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The Day The Music Died: For most of this disappointing start to the Jazz season, a call has gone out from the fanbase regarding getting Donovan Mitchell some help in carrying the scoring load for the Jazz. Teams had an entire summer to pick apart his every tendency and game plan for the things that he exceeds at, and as a reflection, Mitchell’s efficiency has bottomed out. I saw somewhere the other day that half-jokingly said Jazz fans have seen his start this season and are finally realizing that he’s less Dwyane Wade and more Monta Ellis, and my heat hurt. The kid had a magical run to start his NBA career, and is feeling the pressure of expectations now in a way that only an unexpected early success can bring. Sunday night’s game against the Kings won’t be the start of his rise back into the embrace of a fickle NBA’s collective fandom, and as such the Jazz are going to be out the only guy on the team that averages over 15 points per game. That point load now spreads amongst the team but will ultimately fall to Utah’s defensive heavyweight himself, Rudy Gobert and to the ultimate jack-of-all trades, Joe Ingles. If both of those guys don’t come out absolutely swinging, the Kings could find themselves getting home a bit early from the game tonight.

Looking back to four days ago when the Utah Jazz and Kings last squared off, it took arguably the best of Donovan Mitchell’s 2018-19 season to keep the Kings from running away with it. With 35 points on 56% shooting and four three point bombs, Mitchell was there for a bucket whenever the Kings started to pull away and as his starting point guard in Ricky Rubio was going 4-15 and starting SF Joe Ingles was 3-9, it was Mitchell (along with timely contributions from Jae Crowder) who took the team up and carried them to a lead in the fourth quarter after being down as much as 17 in the game. The Jazz go as Mitchell goes, and seeing as how they’ve been losers in five of their last six contests, they ain’t goes-ing very far, very fast.

For the Kings to win tonight, I think they simply have to cut the weeds. In the absence of Mitchell, someone is going to have to step up and take those shots. Allowing Gobert, Ingles and a suddenly-hot-shooter candidate in Crowder to get their averages is fine, but the Kings have to keep the irrelevant guys for the Jazz irrelevant. This falls a lot on the Kings bench in keeping those bench guys looking for a chance, searching for it on the bench. Don’t let someone with a suddenly green light to get hot. If they can win the time that they’re in and hold their opponent to what is expected of them, even in the face of a bit of extra shot jacking, the Kings can blow out a Jazz team that struggles to score the ball.

Prediction

The Kings get their first major blowout of the season, De’Aaron Fox rebounds from a bad game with a 25 point + triple double and Buddy Hield goes for over 30 points. Also, Marvin Bagley drops a hammer on Gobert.

Kings 137, Jazz 111