NBA: Kings beat Jazz in rematch
Sacramento, Calif. • Enes Kanter celebrated one of the few things the Jazz had to celebrate. He turned into the body of a blistering mad DeMarcus Cousins and clapped in his face.
Cousins had spiked the ball out of Kanter's hands and was whistled for a technical. He was moments away from his second. As Cousins melted into a heap of unbridled anger, Kanter stayed with him.
"If he would have walked away," forward Marvin Williams said, "I'm sure a lot of guys in this locker room would have had something to say about that."
As for the game itself? There wasn't much they could say about the 108-97 loss, as the Jazz dropped the second end of a back-to-back series to the Kings in front of 12,239 at Sleep Train Arena.
Cousins' implosion seemed like the ideal time for the woeful Kings to follow suit. Instead, they went on a 10-4 run and took a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, from which the Jazz couldn't recover.
"To me, that motivated them when he got kicked out of the game," Jazz center Al Jefferson said.
Through 48 uneven minutes, the Jazz further proved that they are a team whose only identity is their seeming lack of one.
"It's tough losing on the road," point guard Earl Watson said. "We have to figure it out soon."
The Jazz fell to 2-7 away from EnergySolutions Arena and, following Monday's home game against Denver, face a three-game road trip against Western Conference opponents.
Starting point guard Mo Williams was held out following an injury to his right foot in Friday's 104-102 win over the Kings in Utah. Jamaal Tinsley started in his place, finishing with 14 points and seven assists. Watson, in his second game back from April knee surgery, scored six points, recorded five assists and tallied four steals all in the first half.
Yet of all the Jazz's losses this season, Saturday's may have been the most perplexing. They had rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit Friday to top the Kings in Salt Lake on Gordon Hayward's go-ahead jumper. They were in nearly an identical situation on Saturday, but couldn't match the result.
They trailed by as many as 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but cut it to four at 88-84 on a basket in the lane by Paul Millsap. However, the Jazz failed to respond to another run by the Kings. Their troubles included an unthinkable three missed free throws from Randy Foye, an 88-percent free-throw shooter, after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 5:54 remaining.
Foye led the Jazz with 17 points, including four first-quarter 3-pointers, but he did not attempt another 3 until the 1:23 mark of the fourth quarter.
Sacramento's Tyreke Evans led all scorers with 27 points, including a perfect 8 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter. Before his ejection, Cousins contributed 14 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes.
Former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, who scored 10 points on Friday, was limited for the Kings, scoring four points in six minutes.
The game presented a strange scenario for the Jazz: playing their second game against the same team in back-to-back nights.
Marvin Williams said it challenged the Jazz.
"You're talking eight straight quarters in 48 hours against the same team," he said. "It's kind of like the playoffs you're playing the same team every day."
On a night when the Jazz lost to a team that entered the game in last place in the Western Conference, that was all anyone could say about the playoffs.
Storylines Kings 108, Jazz 97
R The Jazz blow a five-point halftime lead and drop to .500 on the season.
• Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins is ejected late in the third quarter following a brief altercation with Enes Kanter.