As has been the case in all four match-ups this season, the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings went down to the wire. But unlike last week’s outing, the Kings came out on top Friday with the 104-103 win in an unpredictable nail-biter.
DeMarcus Cousins’ free throw proved to be the game winner as Gordon Hayward’s drive to the hoop was off and a tip-in came just after the buzzer. He paced the Kings with 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Marcus Thornton contributed 26 points. Al Jefferson led Utah with 27 points and 16 rebounds of his own.
Within three hours, Utah went from seventh place in the Western Conference to ninth, as the rivaling Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets both earned victories Friday. After a six-game winning streak, the Jazz have now dropped three of four.
Errors down the stretch: After overcoming Sacramento’s quick start, Utah had many opportunities to break a lead open but never led more than seven points. It is rare that a team has 52 free-throw attempts and 62 rebounds but sits on the losing end of things.
The Jazz had an 84-80 lead going into the fourth quarter but had many things go the wrong way down the stretch. Some integral examples:
- Utah missed seven fourth-quarter free throws, going just eight of 15. Meanwhile, the Kings went nine of 11.
- After the Jazz made a stop with 55 seconds left, they got the ball back with a 103-101 lead. Instead of milking the clock, Utah went to Jefferson, who missed a jump shot with eight seconds left on the shot clock.
- Likewise, on the subsequent possession, Alec Burks lost the ball as he attempted a drive to the hoop with eight seconds remaining on the shot clock.
- Utah was whistled for a foul with four seconds left, proving to be the ultimate difference maker.
- Derrick Favors had 14 big rebounds, but he had the worst shooting performance of his young career, missing all 13 attempts from the field.
- In a very physical, emotional game, 56 combined fouls were whistled.
- While Sacramento was missing swingmen Tyreke Evans and John Salmons, former Brigham Young University star Jimmer Fredette had just four points in 16 minutes.
- Starters Devin Harris and C.J. Miles recorded just 20 and 12 minutes, respectively.
- In his best game back from his recent injury, Earl Watson had a near-triple-double, with nine points, seven assists and seven boards.
- Every Utah starter had a negative +/-, while all five reserves who saw time had positive marks.
- Sacramento and Utah combined to make just seven of 29 3-point attempts.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.