The Utah Jazz fell short of a victory against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. It was an up-and-down game for the Jazz, who looked like they were going to steal a win after a very spirited second gave them the lead at halftime. Utah fell flat after the break though, getting outscored 35-17 and effectively losing the game because of the poor third-quarter performance. The Jazz got relatively close a couple more times in the 4th quarter but were ultimately not able to claw their way back for the win.
The Kings avenged the loss that they suffered against Utah on 3/20 tonight with a balanced effort offensively. All five starters scored in double figures and they were led by Kevin Huerter with 27. This win was especially impressive for the Kings because they were without De’Aaron Fox, who was ruled out before the game with hamstring soreness. The resiliency from Sacramento was also on display tonight which is a good sign considering they are tuning up for their first playoff experience since 2006.
The Jazz played well overall but it’s going to be hard to win most nights when you are missing your top three scorers (Lauri Markkanen, Jordan Clarkson, and Collin Sexton). I think we are seeing the long, regular season grind start to wear on this team and there is no shame in that. The Jazz were led tonight by another stellar performance from Walker Kessler who had 31 points and 11 rebounds, he shot 14-16 from the field! That performance overshadowed the near triple-double from Kelly Olynyk who chipped in 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 20 assists. Jazz prodigal son Jarrell Brantley also contributed 13 points off the bench.
Sacramento will try to continue their momentum and make it three in a row when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Utah returns home for one game to host the Phoenix Suns before embarking on a three-game road trip this week. As it looks more and more like the end of the season is coming soon, let us hope that we can enjoy these last 9 games as fans and hope that none of our foundational players suffer a serious injury. GO JAZZ!!!