Saturday’s matchup at EnergySolutions Arena featured a pair of teams that current reside at the bottom of the league’s rankings. The Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings both had won just four wins entering the contest and after a hard-fought effort, one team had five as the buzzer sounded.
Thanks to a big burst in the overtime period, the Kings captured a 112-102 victory.
In a seesaw battle where the teams took turns owning the lead, it was Utah that enjoyed the cushion for a good part of the fourth quarter. A few errors on the Jazz’s part and some integral plays by Sacramento set up a Ben McLemore 3-pointer that tied the game as regulation concluded.
When Trey Burke connected on a trey of his own 1:19 into overtime, Utah held a 102-101 lead. But it was all Sacramento from that point forward. Several Kings players contributed to the final 11-0 spurt that decided the outcome.
Front court frustrations: Utah was shorthanded from the beginning, but then fouls only added insult to injury. With Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams both out due to lingering maladies, the Jazz found themselves a few major cogs short in the frontline to start. This was exacerbated as fill-in starter Jeremy Evans and back-up Mike Harris had foul trouble trying to stick with Sacramento’s athletic and nimble big men. They, along with Enes Kanter, fouled out, giving the advantage for the evening clearly to the Kings.
Mercurial forward DeMarcus Cousins showed why he is a load to handle inside. He opened the game slowly, but in the second half used his vast repertoire of offensive moves to score time and time again. His strength and agility were much too difficult to match up with and as a result, he finished with 28 points and seven rebounds. His complementing stable of bigs — Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson, Derrick Williams and Chuck Hayes — all added to the attack, combining for 31 points and 24 caroms.
Kanter (12 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots) and Evans (eight points and nine rebounds) both were solid, but ultimately Sacramento’s advantage paved the way for the win.
Back court brilliance: In a losing cause, Utah’s trio of guards each had solid outings. Gordon Hayward was clutch down the stretch as he made a number of big plays. He finished with a team-high 22 points and four rebounds. Starting backcourt partner Burke came close to recording his first-ever triple double, putting 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists on the box score.
Sixth man Alec Burks is arguably playing the best basketball of his young career and Saturday’s nice outing added to that assessment. The high-flying guard had 19 points, five assists and four rebounds. He was poised and showed his versatility taking the ball to the basket while hitting from the perimeter.
This and that:
• Despite the injuries and foul troubles, center Rudy Gobert only saw two minutes of court time. Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin opted to either go with veteran Andris Biedrins or feature a smaller line-up with some swingmen moving down to play power forward.
• Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette had his fifth consecutive did not play-coaches decision.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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