Kings kept at arm's-length in loss to Jazz
KEEPING IT CLOSE
SACRAMENTO -- Overpowered. After taking down the Brooklyn Nets in overtime Thursday night, the Sacramento Kings struggled early Saturday against the Utah Jazz, falling on their home floor by a final of 98-91.
Rookie Donovan Mitchell led the way for Utah with 27 points on 7-for-15 shooting. Rudy Gobert added a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double and Jae Crowder chipped in 14 points.
De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere and Bogdan Bogdanovic did their best to keep the Kings in the game, but Utah played like a team fighting for their playoff life.
STANDOUT PERFORMER I
Mitchell didn’t torch the Kings for 34 points like last time, but he’s an extremely difficult cover. The Rookie of the Year candidate runs a mean pick-and-roll with Gobert. He changes speed and direction very well and he loves to explode to the rim. 27 points on 15 shots is an impressive feat.
STANDOUT PERFORMER II
Fox was ready for the challenge. The Kings’ speedy guard took turns guarding Mitchell and veteran point guard Ricky Rubio.
He made a few mistake here and there, but when he decided to turn on the jets, Utah had no answer. Fox finished the night with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting and added three assists in the loss.
STANDOUT PERFORMER III
Skal Labissiere fought the good fight. The second-year big played major minutes off the bench for Dave Joerger, finishing the night with 12 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
He was active, especially in the paint against a big Jazz frontline. The Kings need a lot more of this from Labissiere down the stretch.
The Kings trailed by nine going to the fourth quarter and kept it within striking distance down the wire, but Utah kept up the pressure to come away with the win.
Willie Cauley-Stein missed the game due to a lower back strain he sustained in the Kings’ overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. Garrett Temple sat out as a healthy scratch, Iman Shumpert continues to miss games due to plantar fasciitis and Harry Giles (knee rehab) is out for the season.
The Kings finish a brutal stretch of five games in seven nights against the New York Knicks on Sunday at Golden 1 Center. They’ll play the Pelicans on Wednesday followed by the Magic on Friday before heading out on the road.