Utah Jazz: Unlike rowdy Kings fans, Jazz happy to get out of Sacramento after 120-109 blowout
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Saturday was "Here We Buy" Night at the Sleep Train Arena.
It certainly wasn't Utah Jazz Night.
Fearful of seeing their team skedaddle to Seattle, Sacramento fans showed up in droves to support their Kings. And for one night, at least, the rowdy crowd was loud and proud like the good old days.
No cowbells were even required to raise the decibel level on a night Sacramento blew out the visiting Utah Jazz 120-109.
"They played to the crowd, and the crowd was into it," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "It gave them a little extra boost of confidence."
It might have looked like it in the second half — when Utah fell behind by as many as 20 points — but the Jazz weren't just being magnanimous in an effort to help their old rivals stay in SacTown.
Despite losing four straight and eight of nine coming into this one — including a 98-91 overtime defeat in Utah on Monday — this pumped-up Sacramento squad looked like a Chris Webber-era club.
Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points, including a buzzer-beating layup that gave the Kings all sorts of momentum heading into halftime after scoring four quick points to take a 60-54 lead.
Reserve Marcus Thornton contributed 24 points. Jason Thompson added 21. And three other Kings players hit double figures in scoring in the explosive blowout.
Sacramento shot 51.8 percent, outscored Utah 25-15 on the fast break and converted 18 Jazz turnovers into 23 points while improving to 18-33.
Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette, cheered on when he entered, also got into the action, scoring nine points on 4-of-6 shooting with three assists and two rebounds.
"They played loose. They made shots tonight," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Give them credit. Their fans were excited about keeping them here."
And the Jazz?
Not so excited.
It was so unexciting for the Jazz, they rallied out of a 13-point deficit to briefly take the lead only to quickly fall behind for good — and by a lot — early in the second half when the Kings went on a 15-4 spurt.
It was so unexciting for Utah, Millsap (six points) got his fifth foul less than three minutes into the third quarter, and he never returned.
It was so unexciting for this potential playoff team, Al Jefferson was the only starter to hit double digits with 16 points.
It was so unexciting for the visitors, defending Slam Dunk champion Jeremy Evans even missed a jam late in the contest.
About the only highlight was Alec Burks' career night of 24 points, easily surpassing his previous high of 17 points.
Oh, and the Jazz hit 25 of 26 free throws, including their first 24.
Utah fell for the second straight night, dropped to 28-24 overall (9-18 on the road) and split the season series with the woeful-against-everyone-else Kings for the second year in a row.
"They came out from the beginning with a lot of energy," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "They fed off of the crowd."
If the Maloofs were as enthusiastic about keeping the Kings in town as the fans and players were in their respective roles Saturday, some other NBA city might be worried about losing its team to Seattle.
Dozens of signs were held up amongst the thousands of boisterous fans, who alternated between chants of "SAC-RA-MEN-TO!" and "HERE WE STAY!"
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