The Utah Jazz (18-11) host the Sacramento Kings (11-17) for the second time this month. In their previous matchup, the Jazz prevailed 104-84. Despite how the 20 point margin looks, the game was up for grabs until the 4th quarter, in which the Jazz outscored the Kings 26-8. Gordon Hayward finished the game with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, and Rudy Gobert added 17 points, 14 rebounds and a season-high 6 blocks. DeMarcus Cousins tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
Both the Jazz and Kings will be on their second night of a back-to-back, however the two teams had very different nights...
The Jazz played the Warriors last night and got absolutely throttled. We couldn’t hit three-pointers. We couldn’t hit free throws. We couldn’t defend. Granted, the Warriors are a historically dominant team, and are the favorites to be NBA champions, but the Jazz looked putrid out there last night. It will be interesting to see if we see a team that bounces back, or if we see a team with their tails between their legs.
It was a different story for the Kings. They matched up against the Portland Trailblazers, and fought for a 126-121 win. The team was put on DeMarcus Cousins’ back, as he shot 17-28 for 55(!) points. It was an emotional night for Boogie, as he was recently fined for a verbal altercation with a Sacramento beat guy, and he obviously had a bit of pent up anger:
PEAK BOOGIE: DeMarcus Cousins scores 54th point, spits mouthguard, gets ejected, sprints to locker room, gets un-ejected! (full sequence) pic.twitter.com/kNQ7TRQCOs— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 21, 2016
DeMarcus Cousins goes completely off following win -- says him getting technicals has become "RIDICULOUS." Then calls out Blazers big men pic.twitter.com/5Xpy4Gh2kI— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) December 21, 2016
I don’t know about you, but win or lose, I find it nice that we get to root for guys like Hayward, Gobert, Favors, etc. Some teams have to deal with whining primma donnas, and some teams have to deal with guys like this:
Some rare footage of Gordon enjoying an adorable moment with his daughter post game. These guys are human, too. pic.twitter.com/PlkgNqWm0H— Spencer Checketts (@1280Spence) December 7, 2016
Dante Exum vs. Ty Lawson
Rodney Hood vs. Garrett Temple
Gordon Hayward vs. Arron Afflalo
Boris Diaw vs. Anthony Tolliver
Rudy Gobert vs. DeMarcus Cousins
Marquee Matchup: Rudy Gobert vs. DeMarcus Cousins
This may seem like a easy/boring pick, but I think this matchup is going to be a #yuuuuge one tonight. Cousins isn’t a guy that takes lightly to getting punked, and I believe he might’ve circled this game after Gobert got the better of him in the last matchup. Also, Cousins will still likely be in “Boogie vs. The World” mode, and drop 100, so Rudy will need to be on his A-game.
X-Factor: Easy Offense
Last night was beyond frustrating. It looked like almost every shot was forced, and we didn’t make the Warriors defend the whole shot clock, like we have been so successful at doing during the last couple of games. The Kings are playing better defense of late, but if the Jazz can make the Kings play defense for 24 straight seconds, they will be sure to find a breakdown in rotation.
It’s important for any player to see some easy layups/dunks/jumpers go through the hoop. Confidence will be important after last night’s drubbing, and we will need a few of our key players to get some easy buckets (confidence boosters) early.