One day later, the Power Balance Pavilion faithful ushered in a renewed era of Kings Basketball in Sacramento by celebrating with a victory over the visiting Utah Jazz, losers of four straight games.
Last night's game featured yet another standout performance by an opposing point guard as the Kings’ Isaiah Thomas scored 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting while dishing out 8 assists. But it was the play of starting center DeMarcus Cousins who dominated Utah’s frontcourt, scoring 22 points to go along with 18 rebounds.
“He’s very patient. He’s a big kid, solid kid. He [doesn’t] let [any] defense rush him.” Al Jefferson said of DeMarcus Cousins. “You just don’t see that too often in a young guy like that ... He’s a great player, great talent.”
The game was close for most of the night, but the Kings managed to impose their tempo and style of play in the third quarter, outscoring the Jazz by six points and scoring only one field goal outside the painted area. The Jazz gave up a total of 60 points in the paint as the Kings managed to find their way to the basket on almost every trip down the court in the second half.
“These guys are explosive in the open court.” Coach Ty Corbin said of the Kings. “They can score a lot of points in a short amount of time. We did a good job for the most part in the first half of controlling the tempo of the game ... not letting them get transition baskets. We got away from that in the third."
Former BYU All-American Jimmer Fredette’s minutes and production continue to decline as he logged fewer than 9 minutes and didn’t see the court at all in the second half. In exactly one month and 13 games since his highly anticipated return to Utah, Fredette has played an average of fewer than eleven minutes per contest, including four DNP-CDs.
With six of their next nine games coming on the road, the Jazz will look to bounce back against Houston tomorrow night at home.
Raja Bell missed his third consecutive game with a strained left adductor.