The Utah Jazz (15-10) took care of business tonight, eventually thrashing the Sacramento Kings (8-15) 104-84. Tonight’s game was, more than others, a game of runs. The Kings started off taking advantage of all the Jazz sloppy play, and rushed off to an 11-0 advantage from tip-off. After an early Quin Snyder timeout Utah went on an immediate 13-1 run to take the lead. It was that kind of night.
Rudy Gobert was clearly motivated to win his match-up against All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins. And, #Spoiler warning, he totally dominated him. But Utah was turning the ball over plenty, and when they didn’t they weren’t making a lot of easy shots (I see you Dante Exum and your great drives but close misses at the rim). This made the game closer than it needed to be. That’s not what any of us wanted with how many Jazz regulars were regularly out for injury (George Hill, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks).
The sloppy play and random runs punctuated the first half as Utah had a slim lead, 52-50. After a halftime of having Quin Snyder yell you’ll never guess what happened next! The Kings went on a 10-0 run to start the third quarter!
Do not want.
In the fourth the line-up of Raul Neto, Shelvin Mack (then replaced by Joe Ingles after 1:23 of play), Joe Johnson, Trey Lyles, and Jeff Withey went on a 10-2 run. I don’t get it either, but I’ll take it. Utah would carry the fourth to the tune of 26-8. It was a defensive virtuoso performance by a team that slowed it down and out-executed the Kings in a 94.4 possession game.
Utah would still finish with 23 assists to 22 turn overs, but holding the Kings to .378 .346 .538 shooting really shut them down. For what it is worth, the Kings played last night at home to the New York Knicks and lost. If you lose to the Knicks at home you really shouldn’t beat the Jazz on the road. Utah’s defense killed them. The Jazz also swallowed up .371 OREB% — a dominant performance in the paint to go along with their 38 points there.
But really, Utah beating up on the Kings is normal. The extraordinary aspect of this story is just how much of a beatdown Rudy had over DeMarcus. Rudy scored one more point than the All-Star center while taking 16 fewer field goals (5/6 is better than 7/22). Rudy also did way better at the line, hitting 7 of 8, while DeMarcus shot 1 of 3. Cousins did have four assists to Gobert’s zero, but Boogie also had three turn overs, not so much of an advantage there.
Defensively, Rudy’s Advantage, we saw some more dominance. Gobert finished with 14 rebounds and 6 blocks, Cousins managed 10 and 1. I can only imagine how much grander it would have been if JaVale McGee was playing!
There’s more to the story than just the bigmen, and the runs, but outside of the awesome minutes by Raul Neto (8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 threes, 1 steal in 11 minutes), great on-court leadership of Joe Johnson (8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, +36 in +/-), and very solid scoring from Trey Lyles (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 threes, 2 assists, 1 steal) . . . there really wasn’t much.
You know, I’m just at the point know where I expect Joe Ingles to go 3⁄4 every night with 6 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal and great play. These Gordon Hayward guy also dropped 26 after starting the game 2 for a billion, so that’s also handy to have. He outplayed Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple, and Arron Afflalo (the Alec Burks injurer) whenever they were up against him.
A very solid win. Jazz highlights here:
The Utah Jazz have THREE NIGHTS OFF before they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.