Utah Jazz get blown out 120-109 on big night for Sacramento Kings
Sacramento, Calif. • The scene was all about good will, and the Jazz were all too ready to donate.
On a Saturday night the Kings nearly filled their gym to send a message that, despite a recent plunge in attendance, they still want the Kings in Sacramento. When a retreating Derrick Favors could only look up and watch Kings' forward Jason Thompson take a lob and dunk over him early in the fourth quarter, Sleep Train Arena pounded with chants and joy.
Maybe this was the last time the Jazz will ever play in Sacramento. Maybe it wasn't, and the arena where John Stockton played his final game will be replaced by something newer and nicer in downtown Sacramento. Either way, the Jazz were on the wrong side of a movement, falling 120-109.
The Kings entered the night last in the NBA in season-long attendance, but drew 16,193 on a night fans can point to as instrumental in the fight to save the Kings.
"That's what these folks have done for a number of years for this franchise," Jazz coach and former Kings forward Tyrone Corbin said before the game. "I don't know the economics or the bottom line, but playing here people were always excited. Coming here and playing the Kings, the people always seem to be excited about NBA basketball and supporting the team."
After Thompson's dunk, which put the Kings up 93-78, Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former All-Star point guard leading the charge to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle, turned to the row of fans behind his courtside seat and said, "That will be on ESPN's top 10 tonight."
The loss dropped the Jazz to 28-24, while the Kings improved to 18-33.
The Jazz continued their disturbing trend of falling into a deep hole before getting going. They erased an 11-point second-quarter hole to take a 50-49 lead, but immediately gave that back up and trailed 62-54 at halftime.
Paul Millsap was called for his fifth foul with 9:15 left in the third quarter, and did not return to the game after scoring 6 points in 20 minutes. The Jazz co-captain spent the rest of the evening in various poses of frustration: reclined with his legs extended and crossed at the ankles, with his elbows on his knees, and scratching his head as he spoke on the bench with Al Jefferson.
The Jazz lost both games of a back-to-back for the fourth time this season after dropping a 93-89 decision to the Bulls on Friday in Salt Lake City.
If there was a bright spot for the Jazz, it was the play of reserve guard Alec Burks, who scored a career-high 24 points in 27 minutes.
Burks' role was in question after the return of point guard Earl Watson. Watson missed four games with a right leg injury, which forced the combo guard Burks into point guard duty. Watson played 23 minutes, many with Burks alongside him in the backcourt.
Jefferson added 16 points, while Enes Kanter scored 15 off the bench.
The Jazz split the season series with the Kings, after each team won at home. The Jazz defeated Sacramento 99-91 in overtime on Monday in Salt Lake City.
Former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette scored 7 points in 15 minutes off the bench, making three of his first four attempts and adding 3 assists and 2 rebounds.
Guard Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 25 points, while Thompson finished with 21. Thornton scored off the bench. Center DeMarcus Cousins, ejected in two games against the Jazz earlier this season, played nice and finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Jazz never led by more than one point, but hung around until the second quarter when they were outscored 17-4 to start the second quarter. They fell behind 46-35. Led by 6 points from DeMarre Carroll, they went on a 15-3 run and led However, the Jazz allowed two fastbreak baskets in the final 12 seconds of the first half, including a layup by Thomas as time expired following a turnover by Jamaal Tinsley.