SALT LAKE CITY — A not-so-funny thing happened to the Utah Jazz on the way to their eighth straight home-court win.
They got beat instead.
And it wasn't so much that they lost, but that they got beat by a pretty bad Sacramento team that probably had no business coming into EnergySolutions Arena and leaving with a rare road victory — only the Kings' fifth win of the season away from home against 22 losses.
But all you had to do was look at some of the game's final numbers to see why the Jazz slipped up and fell flat to a supposedly inferior opponent.
Sure, the Jazz got to the foul line a ton — a season-high 52 times — but they missed 14 of them, including seven in the fourth quarter, with two critical misses by normally reliable big man Al Jefferson with two minutes remaining and the score deadlocked at 101.
Perhaps Big Al summed up the night best: "It's a bad loss," he said.
And while Utah scored 59 first-half points and 104 in all — five more than its season average — the Jazz shot just 35 percent from the field (31-of-88) overall. And they were an absolutely dreadful 11-of-41 (27 percent) in the second half.
Sure, the Jazz owned a commanding 62-48 rebounding advantage, but many of Utah's rebounds were missed tip-in attempts on the offensive glass. It was a night when shots simply wouldn't fall for the home team, which fell all the way to ninth place in the Western Conference playoff chase with the surprising loss.
Indeed, those numbers all added up to a disappointing defeat that could prove costly in the chase to reach postseason play.
"(The) putbacks, you miss 14 free throws in a one-point game," bemoaned Utah coach Tyrone Corbin. "We shoot 35 percent, miss 14 free throws in a one-point ballgame, it hurts you."
And the ugly numbers didn't stop there.
Second-year forward/center Derrick Favors had an interesting night for the Jazz, collecting 14 rebounds. But the big kid who came into Friday's game shooting 50 percent from the field for the season wound up 0-of-13 in this one — setting a franchise record for futility.
C.J. Miles went 0-of-4 and didn't score, Gordon Hayward had an off night (6-of-15) and Alec Burks went 4-of-10.
What made it even worse for Utah was that Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins wound up with a big night for the Kings.
Cousins, whose physical tactics earlier this season against much-smaller Utah point guard Devin Harris drew a lot of attention going into Friday's game, had 27 points — none bigger than his free throw with 3.8 seconds left that broke a 103-103 deadlock and proved to be the game-winning point.
"It was great," Cousins said of the victory at sold-out ESA. "Especially to come out with a win and have them all go home with a sad face."
No, he won't win any popularity contest in the Beehive State anytime soon, but then again he's not trying to.
After all, the Kings came into the game wanting to win, too, and the Jazz did just enough things wrong to let that happen.
And that no-so-funny thing — a home-court loss to a lousy team in a tight playoff race — happened to Utah for the first time in more than a month.
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