Mon, 24 Feb 2020

Jazz look to start new streak against Kings

Field Level Media
18 Jan 2020, 13:05 GMT+10

The red-hot Utah Jazz haven't had to bounce back from a loss in 3 1/2 weeks.

But that is the position the Jazz are in as they host the Sacramento Kings in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

Utah's 10-game winning streak ended Thursday when the Jazz suffered a 138-132 overtime loss to the host New Orleans Pelicans. It represents only the second setback in 17 games for the Jazz, who are 28-13 at the midway point of their schedule.

"These games come down to a few plays," Utah coach Quin Snyder said afterward. "We made a few, but there were a few we didn't make. We tip our hats to New Orleans. They did an excellent job and made a few more plays than we did.

"But I think we competed. We've just got to keep playing well."

Star guard Donovan Mitchell certainly played well as he matched his career highs of 46 points and seven 3-pointers.

Mitchell scored 36 of his points after halftime as he and New Orleans' Brandon Ingram (career-best 49 points) engaged in a shootout.

But being on the losing side of the ledger erased away some of the joy over an impressive individual effort.

"That was a winnable game," Mitchell said. "It's tough to lose that one."

The Jazz escaped defeat in regulation when they trailed by one with 0.2 seconds left as center Rudy Gobert was fouled on a desperation in-bounds pass toward the basket. Gobert missed the first free throw and made the second to force overtime.

Then Utah was in solid position with a five-point lead in overtime before missing its final nine shots. The Pelicans scored the final 11 points to hand the Jazz their first loss since Dec. 23.

Now Utah looks to win the season series from Sacramento. The teams split the first two meetings this season but the Jazz have won 11 of the past 14 meetings.

The Kings are struggling at 15-26 at the midway point as they begin a five-game road trip. Sacramento has lost three consecutive games and 12 of its last 15.

The Kings dropped their past two games by a total of six points -- 114-112 to the Orlando Magic on Monday and 127-123 to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

Point guard De'Aaron Fox recorded 27 points and 12 assists against Dallas while small forward Harrison Barnes and shooting guard Buddy Hield each scored 25 points.

While the offense was good, the defense struggled as the Kings allowed 35 or more points in three different quarters.

"It should be pretty clear until we can get out there and play that hard, at that pace and still keep a defensive mindset, there's going to be a lot of ups and downs," Sacramento coach Luke Walton said afterward.

The team's shoddy results have reduced the tolerance of their fans. The boo-birds have been out lately and made multiple appearances during the loss to Dallas.

"Everybody is frustrated, it's not even them, we're trying to figure it out too," Hield said afterward. "But it's the home team and we get booed. ... We don't agree with it, but they're going to voice their opinion.

"I understand their frustration, but like I said, I'm going to keep shooting the ball. When I make a 3, they like me. When I don't, they hate you. That's how Sacramento fans are so you've got to embrace it."

The Kings may start second-year pro Marvin Bagley III at center for the second straight game as Richaun Holmes (shoulder) remains sidelined. Backup shooting Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle) will likely miss his seventh consecutive contest.

--Field Level Media

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