SACRAMENTO — The Jazz were outplayed down the stretch by the Sacramento Kings in a 103-96 loss in California Tuesday.
GUARDS: Devin Harris was splendid, scoring 18 points while dishing seven assists against zero turnovers. His counterpart, Isaiah Thomas, scored 18 points and had eight assists but committed five turnovers. Gordon Hayward joined Harris in the backcourt in place of the injured Raja Bell and shot an effective 5-10 from the field but let Marcus Thornton score 21 points on equally efficient shooting. Grade: B
FORWARDS: Derrick Favors shot just 3-10 and committed three turnovers in 25 minutes after finishing the game in place of Paul Millsap, though he did grab 11 rebounds. Millsap wasn't much better when he was on the floor, shooting just 2-6 with only two rebounds. Tyrone Corbin stayed true to his word during the All-Star break by starting Josh Howard, and the Wake Forest product responded with 15 points and seven boards. Grade: C+
CENTERS: DeMarcus Cousins did anything but eat up Al Jefferson on the glass, grabbing 18 rebounds in 32 minutes compared to Jefferson's eight in 29 minutes. Cousins also scored 22 points to Jefferson's 12 while the two shot a similar clip. Enes Kanter somewhat made up for Jefferson's softness on the boards by nabbing six rebounds in 17 minutes. Grade: C-Comment on this story
BENCH: The Jazz bench outscored Sacramento's reserves, 33-25, led by C.J. Miles' 13 points. However, Miles got his points by shooting just 4-11 from the field. Alec Burks was splendid offensively, scoring 11 points on 5-8 shooting in 19 minutes. Millsap didn't provide the Jazz with the spark that Corbin was probably hoping for. Sacramento forward Jason Thompson came off the bench to play starters' minutes, scoring 10 points. Grade: B
OVERALL: Utah played solid but didn't convince anyone that Corbin's starting lineup changes will reverse the Jazz's recent losing ways. A total of 16 turnovers didn't help their case. It remains to be seen if Corbin's decision to start a veteran in Howard, rather than giving more of that time to a youngster, will be most beneficial to this season's team and the franchise in the next few years. Grade: C+
Rhett Wilkinson is a journalism and speech communications major at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Twitter: wilklogan