Rich Pedroncelli, AP
Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, right, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Once again, the road version of the Utah Jazz appears to differ starkly from the home version. One day after an emotional win over the Sacramento Kings, it was the Kings’ turn to be victors Saturday, winning 108-97 over the Jazz.
Jekyll and Hyde: Utah is doing its best Jekyll and Hyde imitation, looking like a completely different team away from the safe confines of EnergySolutions Arena. With a 2-7 (.222) record away from home, the Jazz's strengths have been often neutralized, while their weaknesses have become polarized. Against Sacramento, their struggles were plentiful:
- Utah’s defense was rough. For much of the evening, Sacramento was able to get good shots, whether it was taking it to the hoop, scoring on interior plays, or nailing perimeter jumpers. The Jazz offered little resistance, despite nine first-half steals. The Kings ended up hitting a sparkling 54.1 percent from the field.
- Conversely, Utah’s shooting continued to be subpar. The Jazz came into the outing shooting 43.3 percent — a mark they were well below Saturday (40.5 percent).
- After 31 fast-break points the night before, the Jazz managed half as many Saturday (16).
- While hitting 22-of-30 free throws is a decent 73.3 percent, the Jazz missed some clutch free throws in the fourth quarter, including an improbable 0-3 stance by Randy Foye.
- Earl Watson was the only player with a positive +/- mark.
- The heroes of the game one night earlier struggled mightily the next. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors combined to hit just 1 of 14 for a total of 10 points.
All this said, much credit should be given to the Kings. They gave their fans reasons to cheer Saturday, while seemingly feeding of their home court’s energy. Likewise, they did not let DeMarcus Cousins’ third-quarter ejection disrupt what was a dramatic shift in momentum.
Odds and Ends:
- Jamaal Tinsley scored 14 points in 31 minutes. Entering the game, he had scored 14 total points in 222 minutes.
- After a surprising rookie campaign (11.5 points and 4.1 assists per game), Kings guard Isaiah Thomas’ playing time and subsequent impact has taken a sharp decrease. Including seven minutes against the Jazz, he has totaled just 37 minutes in four games.
- Earl Watson had a strong showing in just his second game of the season. He finished with six points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.