A week ago Thursday, the Utah Jazz walked into Sacramento and beat the Kings on a last second buzzer beater by veteran center Al Jefferson. Tonight, the Kings returned the favor, beating the Jazz 104-103, in a tough fought battle in Utah.
“I thought we had the right spirit because you can’t be tight and make the wrong kind of mistakes,” coach Smart said on the post game telecast. “I’d rather have them make the aggressive mistakes with the right purpose in mind by being a little free. I thought these guys did a very good job of not getting frustrated in the moment, keeping a loose body about themselves and (they were) able to make some great plays.”
A bloodied DeMarcus Cousins continued his strong play, finishing the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds, despite catching a stray elbow between the eyes late in the game. Marcus Thornton added 26 points for the Kings and rookie Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting while leading his team with six assists.
Big Al Jefferson had a battle royal with Cousins, posting an impressive 27 point, 16 rebound performance. Rookie Alec Burks played a tough fought 34 minutes off the bench for the Jazz, finishing with 15 points and four rebounds, but it wasn’t enough. The Jazz shot an incredible 52 free throws tonight, 20 more than the Kings and they grabbed 27 offensive rebounds in the loss.
Notes and Analysis
- Cousins and Jefferson were the show tonight, as the two starting centers really went at each other. Cousins hit the game winning free throw in the waning seconds to get the win, so tonight, he is the man of the hour.
- Tyreke Evans missed tonight’s game with lower back spasms. He joined veteran wing John Salmons on the bench (hip). Travis Outlaw got the rare start, finishing with two points on 1-for-5 shooting in 14 minutes.
- Terrence Williams continues to impress with his all around game after being signed to a 10-day contract last week. Playing in just his fourth game as a Kings, Williams scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists in 22 minutes of action. It seems like every game he has played in, he shows flashes of brilliance with his passing. Tonight, Williams had a sweet ally-oop to Donté Greene and served a perfect 50-foot pass on the break to Jason Thompson over the top of a defender. Thompson missed on the finish, but hit both free throws after drawing the foul.
- Jimmer Fredette played 16 minutes tonight, including a stretch in the fourth quarter. He scored four points, but shot just 2-for-6 from the field and missed a couple of wide open three pointers.
- Thompson had a rough night for the Kings, finishing with just four points, all of which came from the free throw line. He did add nine rebounds in his 26 minutes of action in his second game back from injury.
- Gordon Hayward went 6-for-15 from the field and finished with 19 points on the night for the Jazz. Hayward also caught Cousins in the head with a hard elbow that bloodied the Kings center and most likely will require stitches after the game.
- The Kings have struggled to rebound when coach Smart has gone to the bench the last few games. Tonight, Chuck Hayes grabbed just three rebounds in nearly 20 minutes of action for the Kings and he was especially killed on the defensive glass.
- The Kings blocked 10 shots tonight as a team. Surprisingly, eight players were credited with a stuff, but none had more than two.
- Stat of the Game: The Jazz pounded the Kings on the glass, finishing with a 62-48 advantage. That number was padded slightly by second year big man Derrick Favors who finished with 14 rebounds, including nine offensive. Unfortunately for Utah, Favors went 0-for-13 from the field on the night, so many of the boards were on his own misses.