March 4, 2018, 1:03 am
The Kings managed to keep things close after giving up an 18-point lead in the second quarter, but the team was unable to put much pressure on the Jazz in a 98-91 loss.
Sacramento managed to defend well in the first quarter, but the key to beating the Jazz relies much more on being able to break down their defense. Sacramento struggled to get into the paint and ended up with just 17 first-quarter points.
Utah’s offense picked up to start the second quarter, allowing them to open up their largest lead of the game. A late run heading into the half kept the Kings in the game, but the Jazz clearly had the upper hand.
One of the biggest advantages for the Jazz was the size of Rudy Gobert. Gobert controlled the paint all night defensively, generating three steals and three blocks. He also made his presence felt offensively with five offensive rebounds and 16 points.
Willie Cauley-Stein’s absence didn’t help matters either. Gobert is expected to be one of the top contributors for the Jazz in any game, but the Kings clearly struggled to find a good matchup for him.
Skal Labissiere was able to make a nice impact in his absence. His five fouls is to be expected against such a team as physical as the Jazz, but he still made an impact in the paint with three blocks and 12 rebounds.
The Kings were able to keep pace with the Jazz in the third and fourth quarters, but without a strong offense they were unable to score enough to get back in the game. One of the biggest issues for the Kings tonight was their ball movement. The team finished the game with just 15 assists and struggled to get quality shots.
The Kings had one of their best stretches of the game late in the fourth quarter but there wasn’t nearly enough time to retake the lead. The Kings should be happy to hold a team like the Jazz to just 98 points, but the home loss will still be disappointing.
Sacramento won’t have to wait too long for another shot at a home win with the New York Knicks visiting the Golden 1 Center tomorrow night.