Don’t let the final score fool you. The Sacramento Kings played one of their better games of the season Saturday night against the Utah Jazz, but once again, it was in a losing effort.
There are no moral victories when you are mired in a losing streak, but the Kings gave the Jazz all they could handle for roughly 44 minutes. In the end, the Jazz found a way to come up with big plays in crunch time, knocking off Sacramento by a final of 128-112. The final score didn’t capture how competitive the game was.
Donovan Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox put on a show, with the Jazz’s star coming away with a big-time 42-point performance. Joe Ingles added 20 points off Utah’s bench as they won for the 24th consecutive time on their home court.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped their sixth straight game to fall to 22-31 on the season.
The Stifle Tower?
Rudy Gobert is known as one of the best post defenders in the game and he’s second in the NBA in blocked shots this season. Richaun Holmes dominated the Jazz’s big man.
The Kings’ starting center started the game 8-for-8 from the field and put up 21 points before the two teams could get back to the locker room for halftime.
Holmes was active all night, finishing with 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting and 10 rebounds. He posted his 21st double-double of the season and he did a very nice job of keeping a body on Gobert and limiting Utah’s All-Star center from having a big night.
Fox goes off
Where De’Aaron Fox goes, the Kings follow. While the star point guard has put up solid numbers over the last week, he looked both mentally and physically taxed.
From the opening tip, Fox looked more like himself and he gave the Kings a chance to pull off the improbable upset.
Fox scored 18 of his 30 points in the first half. He finished the game 11-for-20 from the field and 4-or-7 from long range. He also kicked in eight assists, a steal and one huge poster dunk.
Moe playin’ time
When Luke Walton inserted Moe Harkless into the starting lineup, Kings fans lost their minds. It didn’t work out in the team’s loss to the Detroit Pistons, but the veteran forward was impactful in his second start for Sacramento.
Harkless didn’t put up big offensive numbers, but that isn’t his specialty. He played stellar defense, which on a few occasions, led to opportunities on the other end.
Harkless finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 31 minutes. He hit three 3-pointers and his ability to switch on the defensive end makes the Kings tough to deal with.