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Jazz 128, Kings 120: Comeback Kings Come Up Short in Utah

Kings erase a 25-point deficit but lose to a depleted Jazz squad.
By | 35 Comments | Mar 20, 2023

Mar 20, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz forward Juan Toscano-Anderson (95) fouls Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) in the second quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings wrapped up their last long road trip of the season by taking on the Utah Jazz in the first game of a back to back. The Jazz are right on the bubble of making the play-in tournament, and are fighting for every win they can get. The Kings came in looking to complete a perfect four-game road stint and keep their 2nd place standing in the Western Conference. Different stakes, but equal desires of winning this basketball game. Let’s see how they did:

Quick Stats

Outcome: Kings lose, 120-128

Sacramento Kings: 120 pts, 42.3% fg, 36.5% 3 pt, 76.0% ft, 28 ast, 43 reb, 6 to

Utah Jazz: 128 pts, 52.3% fg, 44.4% 3 pt, 87.0% ft, 33 ast, 48 reb, 12 to

It seems that every Sacramento vs Utah matchup must go down to the wire and tonight was no different. The Jazz were without their three best players in Lauri Markkanen, Jordan Clarkson, and Collin Sexton, and yet were able to take a commanding lead in the 1st half, leading by as many as 25 points. The Kings dug their way back and tied the game up by the end of the 3rd quarter. Trading baskets for much of the 4th quarter, the Kings had multiple opportunities in final possessions to regain the lead, but failed to hit shots. Down by five points with 41 seconds left, the Kings managed to miss three quality 3-point looks on a single possession, leading to the conclusion that the Jazz were just meant to come out on top tonight.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
The Good
  1. The Comeback: Much of the 1st half was downright painful to watch. But even though the Kings trailed by 25 points in the 2nd quarter, the fun part about this team is that I still thought it was very possible for them to win this game. Trailing by 16 points at halftime, the Kings picked up the defensive intensity in the 3rd quarter and finally figured out some new ways to attack Utah’s zone defense. Sacramento discovered the short corner in Utah’s zone and used that to make their interior defense step away from the basket and open up the paint. Ball movement was better as the ball made its way into the paint before finding open 3-point shooters. The Kings outscored the Jazz 43-27 in the 3rd quarter, erasing Utah’s lead and evening the score back up for the final period.
  2. Keegan Murray: Much of the Kings’ offensive success in their 3rd quarter comeback came from their rookie. Keegan Murray scored 17 of his 22 points in the 3rd quarter as he made the Jazz zone defense pay by hitting open 3s. Keegan finished with six made 3-pointers and six rebounds.
The Bad
  1. Stumped by the Zone: The Kings took too long to figure out ways to effectively attack Utah’s zone defense. Early on, Sacramento often settled for quick 3-point looks early in the shot clock without even making the defense move. There was a lot of indecisive play, as Kings players were unsure of whether to attack, shoot, or pass. This indecision led to four bad turnovers in the first half by the Kings.
the Ugly
  1. 1st Quarter: Utah put up a 40 piece on the Kings in the 1st quarter. The Jazz shot 50% (5-10) from the 3-point line, 5-5 from the charity stripe, and held the Kings to just 19 points. Kelly Olynyk got on triple double watch early, though he finished with a double double of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Ochai Agbaji started out hot, hitting both of his 3-point attempts. This heat carried on throughout the rest of the night as Agbaji finished with 27 points on six made 3-pointers. The Kings allowed the Jazz to beat them on every level offensively, and failed to crack Utah’s zone.
  2. Fly Bys: Kelly Olynyk put on a pump fake clinic tonight as the Kings bit at every single one of his baits. Olynyk made 4-7 from deep and I’m pretty sure every one was preceded with a slow motion pump fake that caused a Kings jersey to fly by him before giving him a wide open look at the basket. The fly-by makes me cringe. Not only does it pass off your defensive recovery and responsibility on to the next guy, but you are now completely out of position to help the next teammate out. One solid closeout would have been nice to see, but alas, I shall continue to scream into the void.
The King of Kings

Like the rest of his teammates, De’Aaron Fox had a slow start to this game, scoring just two points in the 1st quarter. But shortly after, he strapped the team on his back to keep them within fighting range by scoring 14 points in the 2nd period. He followed this up with 16 more points in the 3rd to complete the comeback and ultimately finished with 37 points on 6-9 from the 3-point line.

Operation: MCNAIR – Season 2 Watch

Tonight’s chosen charity is Mutual Housing California. Donate if you are able and be sure to notify Will via Twitter (@WillofthaPeople) or e-mail ([email protected]) so he can continue to track donation totals.

Up Next

Tuesday, March 21st vs. Boston Celtics – 7:00 P.M. (PT)

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Jman1949
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March 20, 2023 9:13 pm

Contemplating what could have been a 4-0 road trip:

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Timmy_13
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March 20, 2023 9:21 pm

I love Domas but he shouldn’t let rookies like Walker Kessler get into his head. It ruins the flow of our offense and game. He’s going to get consistently hacked from here on out and into the playoffs but calls will not be going his way 100% of the time. He played good, almost got a triple double but him constantly trying to foul bait Walker Kessler backfired on him and instead got blocked 4 or 5 times. 

3-1 is still good though but Grizz have a game up on us now. The team as a whole thought they could sleepwalk this game with three starters out. It was the same as the Wizards/Hornets game. Can’t be doing that in March. What happens when PG or Curry is out game 2? We gon sleepwalk that game too?

11-3 and still 4.5 games out. I wanna push for 50 but maybe I’m too greedy. Get the Celtics tomorrow!

Also, this is so weird. Lol, we only lost by 4?!

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BeTheBall
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March 20, 2023 9:27 pm
Reply to  Timmy_13

Honestly, I’m surprised the NBA.com story wasn’t “Depleted Jazz dominate and decimate floundering Kings”

Kingsguru21
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March 20, 2023 9:33 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

You’re a funny man BTB.

BeTheBall
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March 20, 2023 9:46 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Thank you, sir. One must keep a positive outlook during these dark, one-game-losing-streak times.

Last edited 1 year ago by BeTheBall
Ellis5
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March 20, 2023 9:32 pm

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AriAvery
March 20, 2023 9:56 pm

Aside from the 2nd seed on the line… I ain’t that mad.

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Klam
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Nostradumbass 19
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March 20, 2023 10:08 pm
Reply to  AriAvery

I’m just glad we have a huge cushion between us and the 4th seed. It’s more forgiving if you get a few losses at least.

Marty
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March 21, 2023 6:04 am
Reply to  Klam

This.

I’m just glad we have a huge cushion between us and the 4th seed.

Rojoking
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March 20, 2023 9:57 pm

It’s a good loss if they learn what needs to be learned from it.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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March 20, 2023 10:11 pm

I admit – I didn’t get home to watch this game until 95-95. But watching NBATV blurb, I saw that it was 85-85 before that.

So Kings came all the way back and were outscored 43-35 from that point by Utah’s second unit over Kings first, minus Heurter.

Well, just a shame.

On the explaining side- Denver, Boston, Warriors, Denver again had bad losses to worse teams.

Can’t win’em all.

But, damn- this was a winnable one, despite the sloppy start.

Tomorrow, is a chance for redemption, I suppose. Also, with Pels win, Thunder win, LAL gets knocked to 12th.

/hat tip to Memphis for winning w/o Ja, Adams and Brandon Clarke.

Sigh.

Henry
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March 20, 2023 10:23 pm

This one stings. Grizz have a fairly soft schedule remaining with only Mil as a real tough opponent (maybe Clips get 1/2 against them). And they are virtually unbeatable at home.

AriAvery
March 20, 2023 10:42 pm

Chalk this loss up as “The top 10 ways to beat the Lakers without having to beat the Lakers”

RikSmits
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March 20, 2023 11:10 pm

These Jazz seem to becoming good sooner rather than later.

Will we once again have a Kings-Jazz rivalry?

I like Monk, but I would be surprised if he’ll ever be more than a horribly inconsistent shooter. His streaks don’t last months, they last minutes.

Mike120
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March 21, 2023 12:07 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Yep, that 3-12 from deep was pretty costly tonight.

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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March 21, 2023 1:36 am
Reply to  RikSmits

We badly needed Huerter on this game.

RikSmits
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March 21, 2023 7:57 am

I have to push back on that one, especially in a game where they didn’t badly need Markanen, Sexton and Clarkson.

We didn’t have it. Dug a hole and started balling too late, too little. Those are the games where consistent D the whole game long can make up for faltering offense. That’s an important next step for this team, I think.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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March 21, 2023 8:03 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Agreed on Monk. I like him as well, but he’s a sixth man microwave. Every team needs a player like that, but eery team gets burned by a player like that as well. He’s basically on par with his carer numbers. Where he has shown improvement is his passing an ball handling, but that could be a system thing.

I often wonder what Monte could get for this year’s first, Monk, and/or Mitchell this summer to get that extra piece that takes the Kings to another level. Just spitballing, but if the Hornets were looking to get out Rozier’s deal, should the Kings offer something like the pick, Monk, and Mitchell? Rozier would kind of fill both of their roles.

Hobby916
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March 21, 2023 8:55 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Have you noticed the amount of times that the ball just slips away from Monk when he dribbles or goes to grab a pass? It stood out to me the past few games. His handle can be loose at times and he makes some untimely turnovers.

Kingsguru21
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March 21, 2023 9:02 am
Reply to  Adamsite

if the Hornets were looking to get out Rozier’s deal, should the Kings offer something like the pick, Monk, and Mitchell?

I’d say no personally. I’m not thinking Rozier is worth giving up what Monk brings to the table. It’s easy to overlook Monk’s value because you see his flaws.

Having said that, I’m also not giving up the pick OR Mitchell for Rozier either. There’s really nothing I like about that trade honestly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
Adamsite
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March 21, 2023 9:29 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I just spitballed Rozier because he’s a legit starter that could be a quality bench piece. He could also step up and start in place of an injured Fox or Huerter. He was just he first that popped into my had as someone that is likely available. I’m sure there are others. My point was just an idea of upgrading the roster at the cost of the pick, Monk or Mitchell.

Kingsguru21
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March 21, 2023 11:04 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Monk has leadership value on this team, and that’s not easily replaced. He’s been a huge part of the culture shift IMO.

My point was just an idea of upgrading the roster at the cost of the pick, Monk or Mitchell.

Yeah, I hear that. This team has flaws but so does every team. Because thirs team has played so well, I really want to see how a playoff seirs looks before I offer opinions on what the Kings should do to the roster. I will say that it’s gonna be quite tricky upgrading this roster given the chemistry this group has.

RikSmits
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March 21, 2023 12:18 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Interesting. Nothing about Monk makes me think “leadership qualities”.

Your kilometrage may vary.

Hobby916
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March 21, 2023 5:54 am

I think when Keegan back in the 4th quarter with about 5:00 left (or so) he didn’t take a single shot. There was a lot Fox and Monk taking questionable shots, and Domas missing shots/getting blocked/taking blows to the head. The ball movement seemed to stop.

Jack
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March 21, 2023 7:09 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I agree. Murray was the only consistent 3 point shooter last night but didn’t get any touches at the end of the game. Mike Brown said it all in the locker room last night. NOTHING. Packed his bags and left.

Hobby916
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March 21, 2023 8:53 am
Reply to  Jack

Good message by him. My guess is they come out hungry tonight against the Celtics and are crisp on both ends.

macdoogs
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March 21, 2023 6:26 am

We have a similar feel to the warriors of the past few seasons where there’s a bit of lollygagging in the first half and then they turn it on in the 2nd half and it becomes a game. It’s hard to complain after so many years of being so bad but we’re gonna need to play 4 quarters of basketball to take another step forward.

KH is sorely missed when others shots aren’t falling.

Keegan needs more plays for him drawn up to get the ball in the corner, his shot from there is money.

Domas should have worked the high post a bit more and looked for some jumpers instead of trying to bully inside this game. He can push Gobert around a bit but Kessler brings that size + strength and is a tough match up for him.

On to the next one

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Daydreamer
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March 21, 2023 11:05 am
Reply to  macdoogs

I wondered whether Kessler could be beaten by a pump fake? Did Domas try that?.

Jack
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March 21, 2023 11:27 am
Reply to  Daydreamer

I don’t know if that was going to work. He missed so many under the basket shots last night whether he pump fakes or not. Hope he does better tonight.

Daydreamer
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March 21, 2023 11:55 am
Reply to  Jack

If Kessler goes for the pump fake, it is almost invariably a foul.

Jack
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March 21, 2023 11:25 am
Reply to  macdoogs

Keegan can shoot all around the perimeter not just the corner. Last night I would have thought they were going to go to him the last 5 minutes of the 4th. but didn’t. I don’t understand.

KingOfTheMonsters
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March 21, 2023 9:40 am

Well, this sucks. I have to have lunch with five Jazz fans today.

cloudyeyes
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March 21, 2023 10:27 am

The Kings seem to struggle against zone defenses. Saw the same issue when they played Toronto a while back. Probably something the Kings need to plan for when they’re in the playoffs.

RobHessing
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March 21, 2023 11:05 am

4th game of a 7 day roadie, at elevation.

That is all.

RikSmits
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March 21, 2023 12:19 pm

Oh shit. Willis Reed died?
RIP.

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