Unlikely Comeback Falls Short For Sacramento Kings At Utah


Jan 27, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) blocks the shot of Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore (16) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings hacked away at a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit, intentionally fouling Utah Jazz big men Rudy Gobert and Jeremy Evans to get to within five points in the final minute, but couldn’t score on three of their last four possessions in a 106-99 loss to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

With the loss, the injury-riddled Kings (15-29) dropped behind Utah (16-29) into last place in the Western Conference. Sacramento played without injured DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay for the third straight game—all losses.

Down 92-72 with 7:28 to play, the Kings started putting Gobert—a 45.7 percent free-throw shooter—and Evans at the line. It worked as the pair went a combined 7-for-16 at the line in the fourth quarter and Sacramento was able to inch back into the ballgame.

Ben McLemore’s three-point play with 31.7 seconds left got the Kings to within five at 104-99, but after John Lucas III made one of two at the line, Ray McCallum turned the ball over with a bad pass and Dionte Garrett made one of two at the line to make it a 106-99 game with 24 seconds left. McCallum missed a 3-pointer and when Garrett got the board, the Kings backed off, allowing Utah to run out the remaining 10.9 seconds.

Utah took control of the third quarter, hitting 4-of-8 from long distance and opening an 81-70 lead at the quarter break in a game that was tied 50-50 at the half. Marvin Williams led the charge for the Jazz with 12 points in the period.

Derrick Favors led Utah with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Williams had 16 points and 11 boards while Enes Kanter also scored 16 points. Evans had a double-double also, with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Gordon Hayward logged 12 points and six assists and Alec Burks scored 10 points.

Jason Thompson, starting at center after Aaron Gray had made the previous two starts, led Sacramento with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Derrick Williams, starting in place of Gay, had 17 points and 15 boards. McLemore had his second strong game in a row off the bench with 14 points, Marcus Thornton added 11 points and Isaiah Thomas had 10 points and six assists. Travis Outlaw, making his first start of the season, also scored 10 points.

Sacramento was 37-for-90 (41.1 percent) overall, 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) from long range and 20-for-26 (76.9 percent) at the foul line. Utah was 32-for-80 (40 percent), 7-for-20 (35 percent) and 35-for-53 (66 percent).

The Kings owned a slim 55-54 edge on the glass and outscored the Jazz in the paint 52-38. Utah had an 11-7 edge on the break and scored six points off 10 Sacramento turnovers. The Kings converted eight Jazz miscues into 14 points.

The Kings return home Wednesday night, hosting the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 p.m. Pacific.