After awesome starts in consecutive games, the Sacramento Kings went scoreless for over 4 minutes and fell behind 11-0 early to the Utah Jazz. There would be loads of Utah Jazz Highlights as one of the top teams in the Western Conference came to town to defend their #4 playoff seed. Just like recent games, the offense of Sacramento would be led by Darren Collison who scored 8 of the team’s first 12 points. There simply was not enough offense as the Jazz extended the lead to 16 points on over 57% shooting with just 2 minutes left in the first quarter. Gordon Hayward was initially a game-time decision but started and was on fire with 10 points on 3 of 4 shooting from three-point range. The Kings finished with just 14 points after one quarter on just 6 of 19 shooting with Buddy attempting just 3 shots in 10 minutes. Buddy simply could not get on track as the NBA’s top defensive team which allows an average of 97 points per game. It would be that defensive pressure which created challenges throughout the game for Buddy who would finish just 1 of 7 for 2 points to go along with 2 rebounds and a steal.
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The McLemore Show
Reserve guard Ben McLemore would be the spark the Kings needed after a slow start, as he scored 14 points including a thrilling 4-point play in the second quarter to cut the lead to 12 points. He was key in changing the game’s momentum. He would finish with 17 first-half points all scored in the second quarter, and was key in helping the Kings storm back to score 29 points to cut into the Utah lead. At halftime, the advantage would be just 7 points with a 50-43 Utah lead. In the third quarter, the Jazz would step up defensively and hold him McLemore to just 5 second-half points to bring his total to 22 points along with 4 rebounds and a steal.
Utah Jazz Highlights
Gordon Hayward had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists while Rodney Hood had 18 points, a rebound, 2 assists and 2 steals to lead the Jazz to a 112-82 defeat of the Sacramento Kings. This game looked like it would have all the signs of a Clippers comeback as the Kings pulled within 2 points late into the third before the Jazz went on a 34-15 scoring burst in the fourth quarter.
Key Statistics: The Kings bench were outscored by Utah 47-43 who also dominated the rebounding 43-32 with a 7-2 offensive rebound mismatch. Willie Cauley-Stein led the Kings with 8 rebounds while Rudy Gobert had 15. The Jazz shot a blistering 42 of 79 (53.2%) from the field and 13 of 32 (40.6%) shot from three-point range while the Kings connected on 34 of 75 (45.3%) and a season low 2 of 15 (13.3%) from three-point range. Buddy went 0 of 3 from deep. Up next, the Kings travel to New Orleans to play a much anticipated game with so much connections between these teams. The infamous blockbuster DeMarcus Cousins trade where Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and Tyreke Evans were traded to the Kings. Despite all the conversation by players, we understand it’s just a business but deep down there must be some hope for revenge.