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Utah Jazz vs Sacramento Kings: Game Preview

Good news: the Kings are not as good as the Warriors.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

Projected Starters:

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

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Prediction: Jazz Win!