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Kings vs Jazz Preview: A Saturday Standoff

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The Kings must face off against a hungry Jazz team just a few games outside of the eighth seed in a Saturday night standoff in Sacramento!

Kimani Okearah

Another Saturday, another shot at playing spoiler to a playoff hopeful for a Kings squad coming off of a must-lose win against the Brooklyn Nets! The Kings are in Sacramento for their second game in a five game homestand and must face off against a red hot Jazz squad surging toward the playoffs on the backs of Rudy Gobert and rookie Donovan Mitchell. I wish I had some snark or bite to this preview, but the Jazz have all the makings of good story: a group of players that were given up on or passed over, inching closer to the playoffs after a horrendous start on the coattails of some rookie flash and defensive fire and coached by a serial-killer-slash-evil-genius. Alright, that’s my one poke at a team I genuinely root for, and I definitely didn’t pause for 10 minutes thinking of other ways to hurt a beautiful team. Ricky Rubio can’t shoot. Boom Roasted.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Saturday, March 3rd; 7:00 pm PST

Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

All That Jazz: Not too long ago, the Jazz were sitting eight games below the five hundred marker at 16-24, and conventional wisdom (i.e. my sad excuse for basketball opinions) would say the year was just about over for them. Rudy Gobert missed large swathes of time with a left knee injury, Quin Snyder’s pizza delivery guy got himself a sweet new gig at Wingstop, and that was left to do was feed Donovan Mitchell the ball and hope to hell that Ben Simmons decided to take a few months off for Processing. Not even two months later, the Jazz are two games out of the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. In a year of ultimate parity (and parody) between teams in the West not named Houston or Golden State, Utah has found a way to win 13 of their last 15 games and aren’t in any way slowing down. These aren’t wins against the Kings of the league either. During that stretch of games, the Jazz have faced down and beat the Raptors, Warriors, Spurs, Pelicans, Blazers and last night they beat the Timberwolves in a game where Jeff Teague shoulder checked a very dreamy Ricky Rubio and a set of beautiful Jazz jerseys into the stands. Those are hard fought and not easily earned wins there.

During a February that ended with the Jazz going 9-2, they cranked out their best offensive month, averaging 106 points per game while absolutely ratcheting up the defense. In December and January, the Jazz gave up 104.4 and 103.7 points respectively; in Feburary, that number dropped to 97.9 points per game. So what’s the catalyst for the change? Well, I don’t want to wow you with my numbers accumen here but, might it very simply be getting the best defensive player in the league back from injury? Rudy Gobert being healthy means that much to this team, and if he’s healthy, I think the Jazz jump the Clippers and will get to the final day of the regular season with a shot at the playoffs.

That’s it! Happy Saturday, folks. Don’t get buried in that single inch of hail. Greta Gerwin is already deep into writing a script on the survivors of the Great Sacramento Snowstorm, and I’d hate to not have you there at the premiere tellling your harrowing tale.

Prediction: Willie Blockenstein handles the French Rejection, Swypa steps on the Spida and nicknames are banned after this game due to the cringing faces of people crushing their eyeballs. Joe Ingles also scores 25, just because.

Kings: 101, Jazz 99