SACRAMENTO — The Jazz didn’t have their top scorer, Donovan Mitchell, for Sunday’s game against a Sacramento team that beat them four nights earlier in Salt Lake City when Mitchell played and scored 35 points.
Who needs one guy when you have about 10 others playing well as the Jazz did at the Golden 1 Center, where they cruised to a 133-112 victory over the upstart Sacramento Kings.
With the win, the Jazz improved to 9-11 on the season and 7-6 on the road, while the Kings dropped to 10-10 overall.
The Jazz received strong performances from a bevy of players in scoring their season-high point total, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field, handing out 30 team assists and outrebounding their opponent by 16 boards.
It was a total team effort as six players scored in double figures, two more scored nine points, and 12 of their 13 players ended up in the scoring column.
Let’s go down the list:
- Ricky Rubio scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and added seven rebounds and five assists. He scored 23 of his points in the first half, including 16 in the first quarter, when the Jazz took a big lead they’d never relinquish.
- Rudy Gobert finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and a season-high five assists, including 11 points and seven boards in the third quarter alone.
- Joe Ingles broke out of a minor slump with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting and handed out a team-high six assists.
- Jae Crowder, getting his first start of the season, scored 14 points with five rebounds.
- Derrick Favors, coming off the bench, had a strong all-around game with 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots.
- Alec Burks, getting more time at the wing position with Mitchell out, attacked the rim and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.
- Grayson Allen and Raul Neto, who haven’t played much this year — Neto because of an injury and Allen because he’s still a rookie — both scored nine points off the bench.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder praised his whole team and their unselfishness, but he was especially proud of his bench players.
“Our bench was terrific tonight,” he said. “The guys who came in the game were all playing at a high level and continued to guard, which is the most important thing. Offensively the ball was moving and that’s how we need to play. If we do that and are patient, the ball usually finds somebody.”
Rubio, who has had his share of ups and downs this year with some very poor shooting nights as well as some excellent ones, was the catalyst for the Jazz. With Mitchell out with a rib injury, Rubio knew he had to take up the slack, and he did it early, as he scored nine of Utah’s first 11 points and 16 in the first quarter to give the Jazz an early lead they never gave up.
“We played them a week ago, and I know their game plan was letting me shoot, so I was ready for that,” he said. “Since Donovan wasn’t in the game, I had to be a little more aggressive. The ball went in a couple of times, and I kept shooting.”
The Jazz led 30-26 after one quarter and 59-50 at halftime before increasing their lead in the third quarter when Gobert and Favors dominated inside. Then, in the fourth quarter, the Jazz outscored the Kings 42-32 as everyone got into the act.3 comments on this story
“We knew especially with Donovan out, we wanted to be collectively aggressive and had to play a different style of offense and get the ball moving and makes these guys guard every possession,” said Crowder, who started because he matched up better with Kings' forward Nemanja Bjelica. “We had a good flow on offense tonight.’
The Kings were led by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 20 points, Marvin Bagley with 18 and De’Aaron Fox with 13.
Next up for the Jazz are the Indiana Pacers Monday night at Vivint Arena, before they head back out on the road for a three-game road trip to the East Coast.
“We’re trying to build off each night and take this with us tomorrow night and we’ll be all right,” said Crowder.