by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Randall Benton of AP Photo
The Utah Jazz (35-38) looks to even the season series against the Sacramento Kings (44-29) in their final meeting of the season.
Welcome to Beam Town
After facing each other a week earlier, Sacramento wasn’t letting their loss go lightly. Keegan Murray (22/2/2), who struggled in their previous matchup, struggled to miss as he went 5/6 (83.3%) from the field while shooting 4/5 (80%) from the perimeter. Even with Sacramento struggling from the perimeter outside of Murray, shooting 1/11 (9.1%) Sacramento was able to still able to outscore Utah in the first, 32-36.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “taking care of (unfinished) business 🧳 #TakeNote https://t.co/sOb2C5Jrub” / Twitter
In the second quarter, Utah had a bit of a surprise from their bench. Jarrell Brantley (13/2/1) was able to come into the game and fire at will shooting perfectly in the first half going 4/4 (100%) from the field. Capitalizing on his 10-day contract, Brantley was the second-leading scorer for Utah as they went into the half. Utah became more methodical with their shot selections shooting 14/25 (56%) while shooting 3/6 (50%) from the perimeter. With Utah making smart shot choices and a larger defensive presence than in the first quarter, Utah was able to take the lead going into the half, 61-55.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “from the paint to the perimeter, it’s all Talen(t) 🧨 #TakeNote https://t.co/IXMM0duBPK” / Twitter
Small Town, Big Heart
After the break from half, it felt as if Utah went cold. Shooting 1/11 (9.1%) from the perimeter after shooting 5/13 (38.5%) in the first half, Utah needed to look toward the paint. Utah turned to Walker Kessler (31/11/2), who reached his career-high in points before the end of the third with 25 points. Though Kessler was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, Sacramento continued to fight back and show why they’re one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Finishing the quarter with a 15-7 run, after outscoring Utah 35-17 for the quarter, Sacramento was able to regain a controllable lead, 90-78.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “7’1″ and 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘶𝘯 💨 #TakeNote https://t.co/7jnaj2FpUw” / Twitter
Though blocks are Kessler’s specialty, Ochai Agbaji (20/3/4) became the blocking specialist for the night. Finishing the night with three blocks, including an emphatic block in the fourth, the 6’5 guard was able to show his full defensive arsenal. Even with his impeccable defense, Agbaji was also an offensive threat in the fourth shooting 4/6 (66.7%) from the field while shooting 2/2 (100%) from the perimeter. Even with a great showing from Utah’s rookies, totaling 57 points, Sacramento’s ability to force 16 turnovers, Domantas Sabonis’s (16/15/7) being able to get most of the looks he wanted and Kevin Huerter’s (27/7/4) able to score at will filling in for injured De’Aaron Fox proved to be too much. Sacramento finished the game with a 121-113 win over Utah to win the season series 3-1.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Rock Chalk, 𝗢𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗜 𝗕𝗟𝗢𝗖𝗞 🚫 #TakeNote https://t.co/zByiN1X2RM” / Twitter
Utah will go home after a short one-game road trip to take on the Phoenix Suns on Monday night as the season gets closer to its conclusion.