Through three quarters, the Kings gave the Utah Jazz all they could handle Saturday night at the Vivint Smart Home Center. Sacramento trailed 78-76 going to the fourth and then they completely fell apart. The end result was a 104-84 loss after a brutal 26-8 drubbing in the final quarter.
The Kings shot just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) in the fourth. DeMarcus Cousins hit a jumper, Kosta Koufos tipped a ball in, Rudy Gay dropped in a 3-ball and Ben McLemore hit 1-of-2 at the line. That’s it for Sacramento in the final 12 minutes.
Sacramento played a hard fought game against the New York Knicks on Friday evening before flying to Utah for Saturday’s match up. It’s one of the most brutal home-and-away back-to-backs in the NBA, but like every other team in the league, the Kings must play the schedule in front of them.
“It could be a factor that some of us were fatigued, but the whole NBA plays under the same circumstances, so it’s no excuse,” Darren Collison told reporters following the game. “We’ve got to come out here and perform and we didn’t.”
Gay’s 3-pointer came with 5:17 remaining in the game. The Kings never hit another basket, although they scored one more point on McLemore’s made free throw.
While Sacramento wilted, the Jazz got hot. Trey Lyle hit two 3-pointers in the quarter and Gordon Hayward scored seven of his game-high 26 in the final frame. Utah moved the ball around the horn, hitting 10-of-20 shots in the quarter.
“Give them credit, they made shots and we didn’t,” Ben McLemore said following the game.
The ball movement completely stagnated for Sacramento as the Kings turned to isolation basketball. From the final score, you would never know that it was a two-point game heading into the fourth.
“Until we find a way to start playing together, we’re going to always find our way into these type of games,” Collison added.
With the loss, the Kings (8-15) dropped a season-low seven games under .500 for the first time. They have lost two straight and five of their last six games.
Sacramento has a day off before returning to Golden 1 Center Monday evening. They’ll face a Los Angeles Lakers team that is riding a five-game losing streak and has to face the Knicks Sunday night.
“It’s the NBA, you’ve got to be able to forget about the past and continue to look forward,” Collison said. “You can’t really let the past get to you. Hopefully we can come in with a better mindset and start playing for one another.”