Utah Jazz: Jazz fizzle late in overtime loss to Kings
By Aaron Falk
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Dec 07 2013 09:57PM
Ben McLemore had missed his first four 3-pointers on the night.
But with time ticking off the clock at EnergySolutions Arena, the Sacramento Kings rookie buried his fifth attempt, forcing overtime and, eventually, the Jazz’s 18th loss of the season.
"It shouldn’t come down to the last play," Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said after the 112-102 loss, "but ultimately it did. We had a defensive breakdown and left a man wide open for a 3, which was the only thing that could have hurt us."
Jazz rookie Trey Burke couldn’t connect on his own last-second attempt and the Jazz faltered in overtime, scoring just five points in the period and letting the Kings run up a double-digit win.
Before the game, the Jazz talked about the two teams’ records before the game and how Saturday night might be a chance to claim a victory, something that’s happened so seldom this year.
"They have four wins and we have four wins too," Enes Kanter said. "Before the game we talked, and we wanted that game really bad. But they also needed it really bad."
Now that’s past tense for the Kings, who improved to 5-13 and still all too painfully present for a Jazz team stuck on four wins.
"We just have to learn how to close the games," said Kanter, who scored 12 points and had 7 rebounds. "I think we played pretty good basketball through four quarters and then overtime, we just have to learn how to close the game."
The Jazz were without big man Derrick Favors, who missed his first game of the season because of a sore back, and forward Marvin Williams, who has missed three straight games while dealing with an inflamed heel.
It’s a frustrating reality for the Jazz, who finally had all 15 players healthy at the Thanksgiving holiday.
"It makes it a little tougher," Corbin said. "We’re young. We’re shorthanded. You get a few guys back, you find some rhythm. Then you’re dealing with injuries again. It’s a little frustrating, but we have to keep plugging at it. The season’s not going to stop and wait on us."
With Willams and Favors out, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins had his way against a mix of Kanter, Jeremy Evans and Andris Biedrins, scoring a game-high 28 points.
"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."
Utah trailed by as much as nine in the fourth quarter, but found a way to claw back into the game.
Gordon Hayward chased down Kings forward Derrick Williams, blocking the shot off the glass and watched as Trey Burke hit a game-tying 3-pointer. Moments later, Hayward fired off a long two, all part of a 16-0 run that looked to lock down the team’s victory.
But the Jazz let a late lead of their own slip away.
"The game is a game of runs," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "We did a good job to get a lead there and we made some mistakes."
Both teams arrived in Salt Lake City having played the night before. The Kings fell to the Lakers on Friday night in Sacramento. The Jazz, meanwhile, were torched by the Portland Trail Blazers, who hit a franchise record 17 3-pointers on better than 70 percent shooting.
The quick turnaround was a chance to put a loss behind.
"That’s part of being the NBA," Corbin said. "You don’t have time to lick your wounds."
The Jazz will now have an extra day to do just that as they prepare for a Monday rematch with Portland.
Against the Kings, Hayward led the way with 22 points.
After being pulled early against Portland, Burke responded well. The rookie had one of his best games, scoring 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists.
"I feel like we definitely should have won this game," Burke said, "but it was the small areas that killed us down the stretch."
Alec Burks had 19 points of the bench for the Jazz.
With Williams and Favors out, Biedrins saw early minutes, which Sacramento coach Mike Malone, an assistant when Biedrins was in Golden State, exploited. Late in the first quarter, Malone called for Hamady Ndiaye to intentionally foul Biedrins three times. The center went 1 for 6 from the line in that stretch.
In the second, Burks and Richard Jefferson traded 3-pointers, as the Jazz pushed their lead to 10. But the Kings whittled away the advantage.
Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas scored nine straight Kings points to end the third quarter. He capped off the run by blowing past Diante Garrett for a layup, giving the Kings a 74-70 lead after three.
Thomas finished with 26 points off the bench.