CK Press Box Report: Jazz 103, Kings 102

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

The Sacramento Kings fought back from a 10-point deficit, but costly mistakes and poor free throw shooting were the difference in a 103-102 loss to the Utah Jazz Thursday evening.

“They didn’t give up,” said Kings head coach Keith Smart of his team post-game.  “We had a group on the floor that did some pretty good work with each other and we did a much better job defensively in the second half; even though we broke down a few times.”

With 30 seconds remaining, Marcus Thornton scored a three-point basket out of a timeout that gave Sacramento a 100-99 lead.  The Jazz’s Alec Burks answered back, scoring a quick lay-up on the other end, leaving 12.3 seconds for the Kings.

On the ensuing possession, Sacramento called Thornton’s number again and he scored on a hard take to the basket.  But with 4.1 seconds remaining, Al Jefferson grabbed his seventh rebound and scored the eventual game-winning lay-up off of a runner missed by Devin Harris.

The win is the Jazz’s fifth-straight victory.  The Kings, meanwhile, finish a franchise record nine-game homestand with five wins and four losses.   Thursday’s defeat snaps a three-game win streak as the Kings fall to 17-30 overall this season.

Notes and Analysis

  • “I don’t know what his issue is, but I can definitely solve it.” – DeMarcus Cousins on Harris postgame, after a near altercation in the first quarter.
  • Cousins’ numbers look good at first glance – 22 points, 18 rebounds and three assists.  But look deeper into the box score and you’ll discover he shot 9-for-28 from the field and 4-for-7 from the line.
  • Tyreke Evans was magnificent off the bench, scoring a team high 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting.  Outside of his three free throw makes, he scored at the rim exclusively and the Jazz had no answer defensively.
  • Jason Thompson rolled his left ankle late in the game, but not before he posted his fifth consecutive double-double.  JT finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, but missed a pair of free throws that proved costly.
  • Al Jefferson not only hit the game winner, but was also the game’s leading scorer.  Big Al finished with 26 points on 13-for-19 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds.
  • Finishing with 18 points, Gordon Hayward was the Jazz’s second leading scorer.  While the Kings fell apart at the line late, Hayward stepped up, hitting all six of his freebies, including four in the final frame.
  • The Kings went 12-for-21 (57 percent) from the free throw line in the one-point loss.  Every player that shot a free throw missed at least one.
  • John Salmons played a very quiet 33 minutes, finishing with just one point on 0-for-4 shooting.  He did, however, manage to hand out six assists.
  • Derrick Favors is coming along nicely in his second season.  The former third overall pick scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and swatted four shots in 22 minutes off the bench.  In his sixth double-double performance of the year, he was a defensive catalyst for the Jazz in victory.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings grabbed 26 offensive rebounds tonight.  Overall, they out-rebounded the Jazz 55-45.  Unfortunately, they missed one rebound that counted.

Injury Report

Jason Thompson’s left-ankle sprain is considered day-to-day.  He’s receiving treatment and believes he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.


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