Final Score: Utah Jazz 96 - Sacramento Kings 103
The Utah Jazz had a sea-saw battle against the Kings which ended up turning in favor of the home team. The Jazz were up with 6:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Kings outscored the Jazz veteran starters +8 in those 6 remaining minutes. It was a predictable loss in many ways, with a lot of observers calling this collapse.
The Kings starters finished the game with 84 points, off of 62 total shots. That's not a typing error, that's a Points per Shot (PPS) value of 1.36. That is an absurdly high value, no doubt a product of the Jazz sending those five players to the line a total of 29 times. The Kings starters did go to the line more than the entire Jazz team -- but we shouldn't blame the loss on the other team getting home calls. If anything one could point fingers again at our 50% "success" rate at the free throw line. The Jazz left 11 points at the line, which can make a significant difference when you look at the final score.
Demarcus Cousins played physical tonight and finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds. He also had 2 assists, a steal, a block, a technical. and countless thrown elbows. Marcus Thornton added 21 points, despite missing all of his three point attempts. The Jazz were successful in limiting Tyreke Evans to just 13 points, for his career he averages 24 points against the Jazz. The jazz also caught a break by having the Kings shoot only 5-20 from deep.
On our side of the ball, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined to shoot 8-20, and did not attempt a single free throw. They finished with 16 points, and 10 rebounds total. When we were winning games those two would each average that value. They added 7 assists, and for the whole, our team had 27 assists, 67.5% of our FGM were assisted. Starter Josh Howard chipped in with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Devin Harris had 18 points and 7 assists. The former team mates both know how to have good games while failing to meet team goals of winning games.
Off the bench C.J. Miles finished with 13 points, Alec Burks with 11, and Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter combined for 17 rebounds. Gordon Hayward had 11 points in perhaps one of his last starts of the season. He missed a crucial three pointer with little time left in the game. His shot wouldn't have been so crucial if a) the Jazz played defense in this, b) the Jazz made their free throws, or c) Tyrone Corbin loosened up his tight grip on regimented rotations in favor of guys playing with a hot hand.
I'm happy the Jazz competed in this game. I'm disappointed for the loss, and a failure to crack 100 points against the worst defense in the league for the second time this season. (Not just saying that, they are #30 in the league) Bravo to the Sacramento Kings fans, you guys are true fans and deserve a team worthy of you. The Jazz fans also deserve the same thing, but right now we're left wanting.