The Sacramento Kings are no longer looking for their first win of the season and boy, it feels good. After a disappointing ending against Charlotte that saw boos rain down Golden 1 Center, this game was filled with constant cheers and energy. Sacramento held it down in the third quarter, a struggling point all season, which gave them a fighting chance in the fourth. Both teams could have taken the win, but Harrison Barnes had the last word with a putback layup to give the Kings a win.
The Kings started the game with pace, running after every Utah miss and going to the rim. De’Aaron Fox could not be stopped by anyone on offense, muscling through Mike Conley for buckets and pulling off a shifty hesi on Bojan Bogdanovic. He led all scorers with 11 on 4-5 shooting. Buddy Hield also made some crafty buckets to get six points on 3-4 shooting and Nemanja Bjelica drilled two threes. The Kings did turn it over six times but it was countered by Utah’s seven so it didn’t hurt them. Sacramento led 23-11 at one point. Royce O’Neale and Bogdanovic led Utah with four points each as the quarter closed 28-18 to Sacramento.
After allowing Utah to score just 18 in the first, the Kings allowed their opponents to put up 30 in the following quarter. Sacramento did hold a good lead for much of the quarter but as every minute passed, Utah crept their way back into it. In the final two minutes, the Kings couldn’t find their offense which granted Utah to go on a run and make it close. Bjelica attempted a layup at the buzzer, but Rudy Gobert blocked it from behind closing the half with a 51-48 Sacramento lead. Fox led all scorers still with 15 points on 5-8 shooting and 5-5 from the stripe. Nemanja Bjelica did everything for the Kings. He got steals, fought for 50/50 balls, threw lobs to Richaun Holmes and finished the half with eight points, 5 rebounds and three assists. Bojan led the Jazz with 14 on 5-7 shooting.
Utah took their first lead of the game within the first few minutes and both teams went back and forth. You make a dunk, we’ll make a dunk. You turn it over, we’ll repay the favor. Sacramento eventually kicked it up a notch and went on a 10-0 run, but the Jazz eventually went on their own 10-0 run. Utah’s run gained momentum after Fox crossed his defender and drove into an empty paint, but missed the emphatic dunk. But finally, the Kings were able to end the quarter still in the game and with a lead. Donovan Mitchell now had 17 points for Utah which tied with Bojan for the most on their team. Fox went up to 22 points on 7-12 shooting. Hield was the second highest scorer on the Kings but went 0-4 from three.
Sacramento went on a 14-3 run midway through the fourth after Utah couldn’t get anything going offensively. But of course, the Kings slowed down and the Jazz answered with a 9-0 run to get right back into it. Dewayne Dedmon drilled his first three and a big one to make it a three point game, but Gobert answered with a monstrous alley-oop finish. Mitchell gave the Jazz a lead after a contested layup over Holmes, but on the next possession, Bjelica missed a corner three. However, Harrison Barnes was right there to put it back in. Mitchell had a final chance to snatch the win, but missed the three at the buzzer with good defense from Holmes. KINGS WIN!
De’Aaron Fox controlled the game and there was no way Sacramento wins without him. He stayed aggressive all game trying to get to the basket and drawing fouls. He finished with 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and one block.
Buddy Hield didn’t make a three today going 0-5, but his shot inside the arc was smooth and found the net. Hield finished with 18 points and added five rebounds, one assist and one steal. Once he finds his rhythm from deep again, look out.
Bogdan Bogdanovic made some huge baskets down the stretch and kept the team alive. He finished with 14 points on 5-8 shooting and 3-6 from three along with two rebounds and one assist. He does need to improve his free throws, however.
Harrison Barnes put the game winner in the basket. Barnes had 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Richaun Holmes only played 20 minutes today because of four fouls that kept him from playing a good chunk of consecutive minutes. But when he was out there, he made his impact. His pounding defense on Mitchell on the final possession made it extremely difficult to get a clean release off.
Dewayne Dedmon had foul trouble as well with five, but did a solid job picking up Holmes’ minutes. He made life difficult for Gobert down low, contested and blocked shots and provided a good rebounding presence. He started 0-5 from three, but finally hit the most important one.
Nemanja Bjelica had a crucial first half and even though he cooled off in the second, his play was essential. Bjelica finished with 11 points, six rebounds, one steal and three assists.
Trevor Ariza played 32 minutes and didn’t take a single shot. He did finish with five rebounds, one assist and one steal on the stat sheet. Ariza’s defense, however, was the most impressive. Whoever started to heat up on Utah cooled off fast as Ariza didn’t allow them to do much once he started guarding them.
Both teams had 17 turnovers.
The Kings were 8-29 from three, but still came away with a win.
Sacramento is also the first team this season to score over 100 against the Jazz.
The free throws cooled off for the Kings as they hit 12-17 (70.6%)
The Kings head to New York to take on the Knicks on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. PST. The Knicks will be coming off a loss to Boston.