In an emotional, impassioned atmosphere, the Sacramento Kings fans seemingly willed their team to play at a different level. And their team did not let them down.
As a result, the Kings easily defeated the visiting Utah Jazz 120-109.
From the opening tip, there was a palpable energy at Sleep Train Arena. Given the current situation surrounding the franchise, Kings fans brought incredible passion and enthusiasm for the team they have loved and supported for nearly three decades. Their current team responded and produced probably its best performance of the season. The chants of “Here we stay” resonated long after the final buzzer sounded.
Ultimately, the Utah Jazz dropped both games in a tough back-to-back weekend. They now sit at 28-24 and sport just a 9-18 record away from EnergySolutions Arena.
Starter Struggles: Another slow start set the tone for Utah, as the Jazz starters could not match their counterparts’ energy. Sacramento darted out to an 18-10 lead less than six minutes into the game and while Utah put forth a few spirited runs, the Jazz could not get over the hill.
While they shot fairly well (16-32 from the floor), the Jazz starters’ main issues were on the defensive end. All five Kings starters scored 11 or more points, while shooting 31 of 57 field goals (54.3 percent). For the most part, Sacramento was able to push and dictate the pace, moving the ball around and getting good shots — inside and out — on the perimeter.
Given that the game was out of hand in the third quarter, the five Utah starters played just a collective 99 minutes.
• Former BYU sensation Jimmer Fredette had a definite impact in his first-half stint. In just eight minutes, the guard tallied seven points, three assists and two rebounds.
• In an odd exchange, Sacramento teammates Jason Thompson and John Salmons got into an in-game argument, resulting in a delay of game warning.
• The Kings did a fine job contesting Utah’s perimeter shooting. The Jazz managed to go just 4 of 15 from 3-point range.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.