by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Jeffery D. Allred of Deseret News.
The Utah Jazz (34-36) takes on the Sacramento Kings (43-27) in their final meeting at home for the season.
What to Look For
Sacamento has been red hot since the All-Star break. With an outstanding 11-2 record, Sacramento looks like the favorite in every matchup they’re in. Sacramento has a 2-0 record against Utah this season but both games were decided by a single bucket in the final seconds. Going into tonight’s matchup, Sacramento may have to manage their minutes since tonight will be the first night of a back-to-back as they face the Boston Celtics at home on Tuesday.
Sacramento is first in the league in points per game (121.1) but are bottom-five in the league in opponents points per game (118.2). Utah is sixth in the league in points per game (117.2) but are also in the bottom half of the league in opponents points per game (117.2). Sacramento’s ability to score can be attributed to De’Aaron Fox, who is the team’s leading scorer (25.3 PPG) and second on the team in assists (6.2 APG).
Now that Walker Kessler has been able to settle into his starting role since their last matchup, expect Domantas Sabonis to have difficulty in the paint, but not too much. Sabonis is first in the league in rebounds per game (12.5) but is also top-10 in the league in field goal percentage (61.2%).
Key of the Game
The “Next Man Up” will either have Utah thrive or die. With Lauri Markkanen out for the game, Utah will need someone to step up and be a threat for Sacramento. Expect Talen Horton-Tucker and Simone Fontecchio to take the offensive load while Damian Jones and Johnny Juzang will fill in the minutes and provide the needed defensive pressure.
Sacramento- Kevin Huerter: Questionable (knee), Trey Lyles: Questionable (shoulder)
Utah- Jordan Clarkson: Out (hand), Lauri Markkanen: Out (back), Micah Potter: Out (G League), Collin Sexton: Out (hamstring)
Where to Watch
Tip-off between Sacramento and Utah will be at 7:00 p.m. MT on AT&T SportsNet.