SACRAMENTO -- Playing without De’Aaron Fox is nearly an impossible ask for the Kings. Playing without Fox and Harrison Barnes is clearly too much for the team to overcome.
In one of the worst losses in the Sacramento era, the Kings were manhandled by the Utah Jazz by a final of 154-105 Wednesday.
"There ain't no explanation, no justification for losing a game by 50 points,” Richaun Holmes said. “I don't care who's out.”
The game didn’t start off all that bad for Sacramento. The Kings held a lead in the first quarter and trailed 30-27 after the first 12 minutes. But the Jazz (45-17) have the best record in the NBA and after back-to-back losses to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah channeled all of its anger right into the face of the Kings.
“It felt like at times it was just grown men having their way out there on the court,” coach Luke Walton said. “We have to be much better and we have to understand that we’re going to have some challenging times and we have to really stay together and really play together.”
Utah shot nearly 70 percent from the field in the second quarter, including 8-of-11 from behind the arc. The Jazz outscored the Kings 46-17 in the period as they crushed the home team heading to the break.
Sacramento never recovered.
“We’ve been playing some good basketball -- this is absolute BS,” Walton said. “We’ve got to get back to that, but a lot of it comes with just individual pride of just guarding the ball, guarding your man. We really struggled with that part of the game tonight.”
Early in the game it was Bojan Bogdanovic running right through the Kings defense for open lay-ups. But once the Kings defense made an adjustment, it allowed Utah to heat up from the perimeter.
Overall, the Jazz shot 24-for-41 (58.5 percent) from 3-point range and it wasn’t just the regulars. Players like Matt Thomas came off Utah's bench to torch the Kings for 17 points in nine minutes on a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Jarrell Brantley lit them up for 13 points in 12 minutes, hitting a perfect 3-for-3 from deep.
Turnovers can become contagious. Rebounds can become contagious. And for the Jazz, 3-pointer became contagious.
This loss was a shellacking of epic proportions and no one in Sacramento was happy after the game. According to StatMuse, it was the Kings' biggest home loss ever.
“They made shots, we didn’t, we couldn’t get a stop to save our lives.” Chimezie Metu said.
Metu, who signed a multi-year contract with the Kings earlier in the day, picked up his first start of his career in place of Barnes and he was clearly embarrassed by both the team and his own performance after the game.
“I’m thankful for the organization, but in return, there has to be...they gave me something, I have to give them more,” Metu said. “And that means winning games and playing better.”
The Kings have had some rough games this season, but nothing like what we saw on Wednesday. They need to make adjustments without Fox and Barnes to bail them out. If they don’t the final 10 games could see a few more games like this one.