Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Undermanned Kings drop a game in Utah

Derrick Favors, Jason Thompson

Sacramento Kings player Jason Thompson, left, jockeys for position with Utah's Derrick Favors during a 106-99 Jazz win on Monday in Salt Lake City. AP photo

SALT LAKE CITY — Derrick Favors had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Marvin Williams added 16 points and 11 rebounds to power the Utah Jazz past the depleted Sacramento Kings, 106-99, on Monday.

Enes Kanter added 16 points and Jeremy Evans had 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Jazz took advantage of injuries that have left Sacramento without frontcourt starters DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay for the past three games.

After the Jazz sent their starters to the bench with the game seemingly in hand, the Kings mounted an unlikely comeback that fell just short. Sacramento trimmed a 20-point lead to five in the final minute, but came up empty on three of its final four possessions.

Jason Thompson scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Kings, who lost their fourth consecutive game. Derrick Williams had 17 points and 15 boards.

The Jazz set an NBA season high with 53 free-throw attempts, topping the previous mark of 52 set by Houston against the Lakers on Nov. 7 and the Los Angeles Clippers against Brooklyn on Dec. 12. Utah went 12-for-25 at the line in the fourth quarter, allowing the Kings to make things interesting.

Sacramento, whistled for 36 fouls, began hacking Utah’s surprised reserves midway through the fourth quarter.

The Jazz took control of the game in the third with a 17-7 run that was capped by seven straight points from Marvin Williams. His free throws gave Utah an 81-67 lead with 1:36 left in the period.

The Jazz stretched the lead to as many as 20 as both teams played their backups in the fourth quarter. The Kings started intentionally fouling Jazz big men Rudy Gobert and Evans, who were 7-of-16 from the line.

The scheme worked, and Ben McLemore’s three-point play brought the Kings to 104-99 with 31 seconds to play. John Lucas III made one of two free throws and Diante Garrett split a pair of foul shots to finally put the Kings away.

The Kings played Sunday in Denver and have given up 116.5 points per game during their four-game skid, but never gave up against the startled Jazz even when Sacramento looked weary.

Thompson, topping his previous season high of 15 points against Charlotte on Jan. 4, kept several plays alive with his tenacity as the Kings struggled to find options on offense. Sacramento outscored the Jazz, 52-38, in the paint despite the absence of Cousins and Gay.

Cousins missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle and Gay warmed up his strained left Achilles but felt he couldn’t go and was scratched from the lineup just before the opening tip.

Cousins and Gay both were injured in a loss at Houston last Wednesday.

Isaiah Thomas had been averaging 27.6 points over the past five games but mustered just 10 on 4-of-13 shooting Monday.

Notes: The Kings were given a delay of game warning for not getting to center court for the opening tip in time. … McLemore poked Evans in the eye as he drove to the hoop. Evans missed both free throws while squinting at the basket. … Sacramento guard Jimmer Fredette, who played at nearby BYU, received loud cheers when he scored and boos when he brought the ball up the court. He finished with eight points.

The Associated Press

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