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Jazz sorely miss Favors in loss to Kings

Published December 8, 2013 7:23 pm

NBA • Jazz badly missed big man in loss to Sacramento.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

DeMarcus Cousins got the ball on the block, spun left toward the middle of the key and tossed up a right-handed shot over Enes Kanter that bounced on the rim and rolled off.

In the fight for the rebound, Cousins, the Sacramento Kings' fourth-year center, raced to the corner, committing a loose ball foul that sent him to the bench early in the first quarter.

Foul trouble was one of the only ways Utah stopped the Sacramento big man in Saturday night's 112-102 loss to the Kings.

With a sore lower back keeping Derrick Favors out of the game, Sacramento exploited the Jazz's interior defense often.

"We caught a little bit of a break with Favors not being healthy, so we wanted to establish DeMarcus in the post," Kings coach Mike Malone said. "In overtime, we went to him almost exclusively with that one play and he carried us."

Favors, who had started all 21 games leading up to Saturday night, is considered day-to-day with his back injury. With the Portland Trail Blazers and All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge coming to town Monday, the Jazz would certainly miss Favors if he's unable to play for a second game.

Even with Favors on the floor, Aldridge racked up 20 points against Utah in a blowout Friday in Portland.

But the Kings' Cousins showed how difficult things can be for Utah without its best interior defender.

Saturday night, Cousins found himself matched up against a mix of Kanter, Andris Biedrins and Jeremy Evans.

And the Kings center finished with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, as the Jazz took their 18th loss of the season.

"Well [Cousins] is a load for most guys in this league," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said when asked about missing Favors' defense. "I thought the guys fought for the most part and he made some tough shots down the stretch and carried them a little bit."

Biedrins was perhaps the most effective on Cousins, but the Jazz big man's poor free throw shooting kept him out of the game down the stretch.

It was Kanter who found himself matched up most often with Cousins.

The Kings center hit a jumper from above the free-throw line with Kanter slow to come out. He established deep position for easy baskets. He scored in the pick and roll.

"He's fighting," Corbin said of Kanter's defense. "We've got to get better. Cousins is a load.

"We've got to work on some things to get better — foot movement, some posture there, fighting the guy early."

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz —

Blazers at Jazz

P At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff •Â Monday, 7 p.m.

TV •Â ROOT Sports

Radio •Â 1280 AM, 97.5 FM, 960 AM

Records •Â Jazz 4-18; Blazers 17-4

Last meeting •Â A 130-98 Portland win on Friday night.

About the Jazz • Last place in the league thanks in part to an overtime loss to the previously four-win Kings on Saturday night. … Allowed Portland to hit a franchise-record 17 3-pointers in the team's last meeting on Friday. … Derrick Favors missed his first game of the season with a sore lower back and is considered day-to-day. … Rookie point guard Trey Burke was three assists shy of a triple-double Saturday.

About the Blazers • Dallas' Monta Ellis hit a buzzer-beater Saturday to give Portland just its fourth loss of the year. … Former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard is averaging better than 20 points a night in his second season. … Former Jazz guard Wesley Matthews is shooting 53 percent from the field.