Utah Jazz

After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days

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USATSI

After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days

No break. After a surprising win Friday night on the road over the Warriors, the Kings hopped a flight to Utah where they’ll face the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday evening. 

Buddy Hield came out firing off the Kings bench against Golden State, scoring 22 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. The shooting guard added seven rebounds and seven assists in one of his more complete games of the season.

Utah is in a fight for playoff position. They are currently tied with the Spurs for the seventh spot in the Western Conference chase, just a half game behind the Pelicans for the six seed. The Jazz have won eight straight and 20 of their last 22 games. 

BETTING LINE 

Jazz by 15.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kings vs. The Pick-and-Roll -- Utah is one of the better pick-and-roll teams in the league. Rookie Donovan Mitchell is explosive and patient at the guard position and Rudy Gobert is a monster rolling to the rack. The Jazz have shooters all around the perimeter waiting for the kick out. This is a very good team playing at an elite level right now.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 23-47, fourth place in Pacific

Jazz: 39-30, fourth place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Jazz: PG Ricky Rubio (knee) probable, C Tony Bradley (concussion) questionable, PG Raul Neto (wrist) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Rookie Watch -- Mitchell has been spectacular this season for Jazz. The Kings will combat the high-flying rookie with a pair of first-year guards of their own in Fox and Bogdanovic. It’s not often that a player comes into the league and makes an impact on a franchise like Mitchell has in his first NBA season.

The Gobstopper -- Gobert is a monster in the post. He plays the pick-and-roll to perfection with Mitchell and he is an absolute force on the defensive end. Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos will have to make his work on both ends of the court if the Kings have a chance of upsetting the Jazz. 

Put up a Fight -- This is the fifth game in seven nights for the Kings. It’s also a brutal back-to-back, with less than 24 hours between games. The key to this game is to escape with the team’s health intact, but it would be nice if they could make a strong showing in a difficult situation.

SERIES HISTORY 

The Jazz hold a 2-0 advantage in the season series and they’ve won four straight over the Kings. Utah leads the all-time series 104-82 and holds a 81-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Big test for Bogdan Bogdanovic up against Donovan Mitchell

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Big test for Bogdan Bogdanovic up against Donovan Mitchell

SACRAMENTO -- Coming off a riveting overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, the Sacramento Kings look to make it two in a row Saturday evening. They’ll face a Utah Jazz team that’s fighting for their playoff life.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 23 points against Brooklyn, but it was the late game heroics of fellow rookie De’Aaron Fox that bought Sacramento an extra five minutes. Fox hit a floater on the baseline to tie the game and he and Bogdanovic dominated the overtime session.

Utah is coming off a big win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert each scored 26, but the Jazz were forced to play their starters major minutes before hopping a flight for Sacramento. 

The Jazz have won 13 of their last 15 games and sit just two games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

BETTING LINE 

Jazz by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Bogdan Bogdanovic vs. Donovan Mitchell -- The last time these two teams faced off, Mitchell lit the Kings up for 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting. Bogdanovic put on a show as well, dropping in a career-high 25 points on 9-of-11 from the floor and 6-for-6 from long range. It will take a team effort to slow Mitchell, who is in a dog fight for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year trophy.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 19-43, four place in Pacific

Jazz: 32-30, fifth place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: C Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) doubtful, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Jazz: PG Raul Nieto (ankle) doubtful, PG Dante Exum (shoulder) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out, Dante Exum (shoulder) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Learn from your success -- Dave Joerger turned the game over to his young core on Thursday night and they almost blew the game. It took a big-time shot from Fox and a gutsy performance in overtime, but they pulled out the win. It’s a game the team can build from as they enter the final 20 games of the season.

Match force -- The Jazz are a physical team that likes to attack the rim. They got even more physical at the deadline with the addition of Jae Crowder and they have everything to play for. The Kings need to find a way to match the intensity of a team that is fighting for their playoff life. 

Replacing Willie -- Cauley-Stein is likely out for the game due to a lower back strain. Kosta Koufos might get the start against big man Rudy Gobert, but it’s going to take strong performances from Skal Labissiere and Zach Randolph if the Kings hope to make it two in a row.

SERIES HISTORY 

The Jazz hold a 1-0 advantage in the season series and they’ve won three straight over the Kings. Utah leads the all-time series 103-82 and holds a 80-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Jazz rookie Mitchell makes fun of Curry’s nightlife joke after Warriors’ loss

Jazz rookie Mitchell makes fun of Curry’s nightlife joke after Warriors’ loss

When it comes to activities off the court for NBA players, there's destinations like Miami and LA, and then there's Salt Lake City. It's safe to say playing the Jazz on the road with a night off before a game is way down the list of places to go. 

With the Warriors off on Monday night, Steph Curry took some teammates out on the town. He even poked fun at the wild night on Instagram.

#nightlife

A post shared by Wardell Curry (@stephencurry30) on

While the Warriors came out in one piece from The Escape Key, they couldn't escape the Jazz the next night. Golden State was embarrassed in Utah on Tuesday, 129-99. 

Nobody liked the Warriors' loss more than Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell. The electrifying guard had quite the response to Curry. 

Mitchell scored 20 points in the Jazz's win. At only 21 years old, he is averaging 19.3 points per game. 

On the losing end, Curry struggled all game and only scored 14 points.