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Kings vs. Jazz Preview & Predictions: Stay On Beat

Time for the Kings to bounce back.
By | 25 Comments | Mar 31, 2024

December 16, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) shoots the basketball against Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks (0) during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to get excited about this one, isn’t it? Monk is out. Huerter is out. The back to back losses to the Mavericks still sting. The Kings are limping into the home stretch when just a week ago it seemed like the Kings were peaking at the right moment. But that speaks to how quickly momentum can shift. The season isn’t over yet, and the Kings may have reinforcements on the horizon. Sasha Vezenkov is still listed as questionable, signaling he could return at any moment, although he’s been listed as questionable for like two weeks now. But Trey Lyles has also been upgraded to questionable. Getting one or both of Lyles and Sasha back would be a nice boost to a bench that has been thinned by injuries. The Kings will need the bench boost as soon as possible, and the entire roster will need to step up. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will need to lead the way. Keegan Murray will need to be a bigger factor in the offense. Keon Ellis will need to keep locking fools down. Davion Mitchell will need to lead the bench. The Kings have been dealt a blow, but the season isn’t over yet.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Sunday, March 31st, 6:00 PM PT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

Last Time

In what was the greatest shooting display in Sacramento Kings history, Keegan Murray made an NBA record 11 straight three pointers en route to a career-high 47 points and a 125-104 victory. Murray finished 12-15 overall from three and scored 26 points in the third quarter alone.  Collin Sexton led the way for Utah with 28 points.

Three in the Key

Get the lead, keep the lead: “Oh, score more points? Great analysis Greg!” But we all know what this means. Too often this season the Kings have had a sizeable lead only to squander it. All I want in my Easter basket is for the Kings to find the ability to finish games without giving us all heart attacks.

Clean the Glass: The Utah Jazz are not having the best of seasons, currently sitting at 29-45. They’ve got plenty of injuries themselves. But the one thing the Jazz do really well is rebound. The Jazz rank 4th in the NBA in rebounds per game, largely due to their dominance with offensive rebounds. The rest of the Kings need to exert themselves grabbing defensive rebounds and limiting Utah’s second chances

Protect the Ball: The Jazz commit the most turnovers in the NBA, averaging 15.6 turnovers per game. They also commit the second-fewest steals in the NBA, at 6.3 per game. The Kings can’t afford to get sloppy. The Jazz won’t force you into a bunch of mistakes, so the Kings just need to avoid unforced errors. Protect the ball, and take advantage of Utah’s missteps.

Prediction

The Kings win this one for Malik.

Kings 114, Jazz 98

Fan Predictions

Note: Akis prepped these before his vacation. I know Malik Monk is one of the options listed for “Which of these players will score the most”. I would advise against picking him.

Link to Leaderboard (Updated 2/21/24)

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Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 10:48 am

Let’s give Utah’s Jazz a spanking
Since it’s lately seemed like they’re tanking.
We can’t overlook them;
Get up early and cook them.
Somehow get our offense back cranking!

Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 10:49 am
Reply to  Jman1949

+1 Gotta put the ball in the basket! Happy Easter!

comment image&ct=g

RikSmits
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March 31, 2024 10:48 am

Markaanen is out. The absence of a key opponent is often the recipe for a Kangz-type letdown.

Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 11:16 am
Reply to  RikSmits

John Collins and Jordan Clarkson are also listed as “Out”.

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UpgradedToQuestionable
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March 31, 2024 12:56 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

One of the prediction questions had me thinking…
.
.
.
wait, where was I? Nevermind.

With Huerter and Monk out, one an assister, the other a shot maker off the DHO, the Kings assists total should be expected to lower appreciably. (2.6 apg and 5.1 apg respectively).

Points-wise, they have averaged about 26 ppg combined (15.4 MM, 10.2 KH).

That’s sizable for a team that is offense driven.

Big ups to Davion who has performing admirably on both sides of the ball, even creating some scoring on his own. Last 3 games that’s translated to 32 points on 12-20 FGM/FGA. Keon has been showing increasing confidence with the 3 and that is paying off – he’s scored 50 pts in the last 4 games (and that includes just 5 vs. Philly).

It’s step up time and Ke and Davi have been on. (groan, sorry).

Looking for and finding some sunshine in these clouded days.

Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 11:00 am

From SLCDunk yesterday:

Don’t look now, but with the Jazz on an 8-game losing streak, they just tied the Brooklyn Nets for the #8 pick in the draft. With 8 games left, it will be difficult to catch the Grizzlies, but you never know. Utah is very unlikely to win another game this season.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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March 31, 2024 11:34 am
Reply to  Jman1949

That sounds like a classic Kangz-type game where they play down to the level of competition.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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March 31, 2024 11:33 am

We’ll see if Trey will play tonight.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
March 31, 2024 2:10 pm

Taking the family to this one. It as a X-mas gift to everyone. Now that half of each team is unlikely to play, I may just get some expensive beers and ask the wife to drive us home.

Go Kangz.

Klam
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March 31, 2024 3:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Don’t tell me you’re gonna be hammered by halftime. 😉

ForKingsandCountry
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March 31, 2024 3:00 pm

Hot take incoming.

If the Kings lose today and the Lakers, Warriors and Rockets all win, the Kings should tank the rest of the season. Instead of being a 9 or 10 seed and losing in that game, why not try to secure the highest pick possible? I’ve already given up on the pick conveying this year so why not try and get as high up the board as you can to grab another potential asset? With the injuries and general lack of high end talent on the roster, maybe they get lucky with another Haliburton type impact player late in the lottery? Worth a shot IMO.

Last edited 18 days ago by ForKingsandCountry
UpgradedToQuestionable
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March 31, 2024 3:12 pm

comment image&ct=g
Roll over and play dead? Don’t even try? Send the team a message, loud and clear-
the regular season is over! And you’ve clearly failed. We have no faith in the ability of the GM to manage, the coach to coach or the players to be worth much.

We feel it is in the best interest, instead, to gamble that a rookie drafted in the 13or 14 range, in this 2024 draft, will make a sizable improvement for the future of this franchise and the path next season of this team.

Oh, and you season ticket holders? Pre-season starts in October. Have a nice day.

Is that about right?

ForKingsandCountry
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March 31, 2024 3:20 pm

Well… yeah. If they aren’t making the playoffs anyway (and that got a lot harder with the Monk injury), why not maximize your odds to improve next year? This is already a mostly wasted year aside from development for Ellis and defensive improvements from Keegan. Everyone else has been at or below their expectations. Hoping for internal development isn’t going to get them higher up the pr king order in the west. Adding talent either through the draft or via trade will though.

Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 3:18 pm

You have a right to your opinion…

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ForKingsandCountry
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March 31, 2024 3:26 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

I mean I know it’s not fun to talk about but the Kings chances of making the playoffs dropped precipitously in the last week. I’d rather they have a plan for improvement rather than hoping for unlikely outcomes. With Huerter and Monk ostensibly out for the year, it’s probably time to pivot. This version of the Kings isn’t going anywhere even if they make it out of the play-in. The Mavs did this last year and got a great rotation player in the draft. Kick the can a year and try to comeback stronger next season.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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March 31, 2024 4:17 pm

to echo the wisdom of Jman1949 – it’s community talk and what better place to bandy about an off the cuff musing than here with your Kings blog site.

As I garbled above, it ain’t my cup of tea, in fact, I find the idea abhorrent, but to each their own. If they can’t excel or succeed with what they have, why not do anything and/or everything to improve?

I just don’t agree. The season, despite the last two disappointing losses, is far from over. Can they crumble? Yes. Would it tear a bit of my fan heart? Absolutely. But what if they persevere? And hit that first round? Ya nevah know.

Look – this team is better than .500. They have cobbled together a very nice season: 4-0 vs. Denver, winning records vs the West’s best. Stomping the Lakers. Sabonis’ record year. Monk’s maybe 6th Man award. The maturation of Spock (Keegan). This is so much better than the sour mush we’ve seen by Vivek in all but last season. They’re not going to sing tribute songs, but there is much more luster to build on than the lack of same.

In my opinion.

Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 5:13 pm

FK&C’s premise may be moot anyway. Dubs are trailing the Spurs by 8 at the half, and the Rockets trail the Mavs by 21.

ForKingsandCountry
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March 31, 2024 5:52 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Very true it may be moot! I was just putting forth a scenario that may need to be considered.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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March 31, 2024 3:29 pm

For me it goes like this: If by some miracle they make the playoffs (likely as the 8th seed) they convey a pick around #17. If the miss the playoffs, however, they keep the pick at around #14. Either way the picks are virtually identical in terms of value.

Let’s go with the assumption that they miss the playoffs and keep their pick. Why not just hit up ATL and see if they want the late lottery pick free and clear in exchange for removing all future obligations. This at least gives Monte some future draft pick assets to try and improve the team this summer.

ForKingsandCountry
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March 31, 2024 3:37 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

So, I agree with you that they SHOULD do that if they don’t make the playoffs. The problem is I doubt they will. And the reason for the original post is that looking at schedules it’s actually pretty easy for them to get around pick 10. They’re not that far up on the Rockets and they apparently don’t lose anymore. Losing in the play-in and getting pick 14 is worst case scenario and that’s exactly where I think we’re headed. So I’d say do everything possible to avoid that. They can’t improve the team at this stage so pull a Dallas and go the other way.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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March 31, 2024 3:43 pm

Even if the Kings were to “tank” there is a very unlikely chance they fall to the teams below them. Everyone in the East who misses the playoffs will likely have a worse record than the Kings. The 6th seed over there has the same record as Sac. In the West they could only fall mathematically below Houston.

With my rough math, even if the Kings lost every game from now until the end of the season, they might “rise” from 14th in the lottery to 12th at best. it’s just not worth it. They’d be much better off playing their asses off and making that 8th seed in the playoffs, even if a first round exit is all but guaranteed.

I think we’d all be pretty stoked if they did just that.

Last edited 18 days ago by Adamsite
Jman1949
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March 31, 2024 3:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

There are already 10 teams with 40 or more losses and the Bulls are likely to lose their 40th today. So the “best” we could likely hope for is grabbing spot #12. The difference between #12 and potentially #14 is not enough to justify the message we’d send to the core players on this team by tanking.

Mike120
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March 31, 2024 5:18 pm

I’m gonna have to disagree with this. Keep fighting til the end. Even a 10 seed can get us in with two wins. If we were already eliminated, I’d say to tank. But we’re solidly in the running.

Hobby916
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March 31, 2024 4:21 pm

Sasha and Trey are available tonight.

rockbottom
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March 31, 2024 5:37 pm

All hands on board and great opportunities for Ellis, Mitchell and Duarte .

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