Kings 103 – Jazz 96

February 29th, 2012 | by Evan Hall
Utah Jazz 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Sacramento Kings
Josh Howard, SF 29 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | +4

Howard seems determined to prove he deserves the starting spot. During the first quarter, Howard could not miss and for stretches, he carried the Jazz’s offense. He shoots from the mid-range like other players shoot lay-ups, and for this Jazz team, that’s a valuable asset.

Paul Millsap, PF 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 PTS | -6

Millsap performed another disappearing act in this one. All game long, he was invisible on defense and even more critically, on offense. Millsap has consistently been the Jazz’s best player this season, so when he completely checks out like this, it’s extremely difficult for the Jazz to win.

Al Jefferson, C 29 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | -11

Jefferson didn’t shoot particularly well, but he played within the offense, hit the cutters, and didn’t stop the ball. Unfortunately, he looked painfully outmatched by his defense match-up: DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins grabbed 8 offensive rebounds and generally pushed Jefferson around.

Devin Harris, PG 31 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 18 PTS | -2

In the final two minutes of the game, Harris was the go-to guy the Jazz have been searching for all season long. He was the only player with the confidence to answer the Kings basket for basket. Add to this that he played 31 minutes, notched seven assists, and didn’t commit a single turnover, and this was everything you could ask for from Harris.

Gordon Hayward, SG 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -6

Statistically, this was a solid night for Hayward. Unfortunately, his three point percentage is still spiraling into the low 20s, and the last of his three misses from beyond the arc was a wide open look that could have won it for the Jazz.

Earl Watson, PG 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 PTS | -5

The elephant in the room with Earl Watson is his inability to score. Any opponent who reads the scouting report on Watson immediately knows to sag off him, dare him to shoot, and play the pass. This negates a lot of Earl’s effectiveness. That said, his defense and floor vision still make his minutes worthwhile.

C.J. Miles, SF 21 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -1

C.J. provided some crucial scoring off the bench, but four three-point attempts for a player shooting under 30% is far too many. It’s obvious Corbin wants (and needs) C.J. to be the offensive spark plug for the Jazz, but C.J.’s shot selection has to make him question whether that’s a wise strategy.

Derrick Favors, FC 25 MIN | 3-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -2

If only Favors could finished around the rim, then this would have been a double-double. His rebounding numbers continue to be encouraging, and during his shifts playing defense on DeMarcus Cousins, Cousins was forced into bad shots and forced out of offensive rebounds.

Alec Burks, G 19 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -11

Any casual NBA fan who turned this game on could potentially believe that Alec Burks was the Jazz’s best player, and for one night, that might have been true. Beyond purchasing a 50 x 50 foot billboard outside of Energy Solutions Arena with screaming red letters that read “PLAY ME,” there’s nothing else Burks can do to show he deserves legitimate minutes.

Enes Kanter, F 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +5

Kanter desperately needs a more polished post game, and his put-backs leave a lot of strength and tenacity to be desired, but his rebounding and defense are always there. Tonight was no different.

Three Things We Saw

  1. DeMarcus Cousins abused the Jazz frontline all night long. Cousins finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds, while his Jazz counterparts Millsap and Jefferson finished with only 16 points and 10 boards combined. Cousins was tough, at times even nasty, but his bullying paid off.
  2. The X-factor of this game was free throw shooting. The Jazz were a miserable 11-22 from the line, while the Kings shot 24-29. On a night when the Jazz consistently drew fouls, they could not consistently capitalize. The free throw disparity was more than enough to account for the seven-point loss.
  3. Defining Moment: Down two with 30 seconds left, the Jazz squandered a gift-wrapped opportunity. Devin Harris sliced into the lane and then kicked it out to a wide open Gordon Hayward in the corner. As is typical for a team impotent from beyond the arc, Hayward bricked the three, and the Kings closed it out with clutch free-throw shooting.

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