This game was all about stingy defense as the Utah Jazz Shutdown the Sacramento Kings in a 104-84 win on Saturday. The Kings were playing their second game of a back-to-back, but unlike they Jazz they did not have a single play injured. The Jazz were without Derick Favors, Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Alec Burks for this game, as all are rehabbing from injuries. Though they were short handed, the Jazz got back their leader Gordon Hayward, who missed the Golden State game. As you would hope to see the two best players on the Jazz roster tonight in Hayward and Rudy Gobert controlled this game and showed how dominate they can be.
The game started out with a quick run by 11-0 run by the Kings that was fueled by turnovers. These turnovers would be a constant issue for the Jazz tonight as they turned over the ball 22 times which resulted in 36 Kings points. The guys kept their cool and answered with their own 20-3 run and began to frustrate the Kings. Rudy Gobert particularly was able to control the paint with four blocks in the first half and ensure that DeMarcus Cousins never got anything going.
The Second half opened very similar to the first as the Kings fought back to an eight point lead. Just like in the first quarter, the Jazz were able to keep there cool and fight back. Hayward answered with 8 eight third quarter points while holding Rudy Gay to 1-3 shooting. The team held Cousins to just 2-7 shooting for four points in the 3rd quarter and they regained the lead going into the fourth.
Fourth quarter leads have been a bit of an issue for the Jazz, but that was not the case in this one as they didn’t take their foot off the pedal. Hayward had seven points on 3-4 shooting and ended up with an impressive 26 on the night. Cousins again failed to impress as he 1-5 from the floor in the fourth for 2 points. The Jazz were able to increase their lead to 20 points by the end of the game and get a solid win against a struggling Kings team.
Three Major Takeaways
1. Rudy Gobert Is One Of The Top Bigs In The Game
Everyone knows that Gobert is a perennial defensive player of the year candidate, but Gobert has become one of the most efficient offensive players in the game. Gobert leads the league in field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, and effective field goal percentage. The young center has also become one of the most effective players in the game at getting to the free throw line, as he also leads the league in free throw rate. All of this is on top of Gobert being second in the league in blocks, and fifth in rebounds. This game was a perfect example of Gobert’s effectiveness on the offensive end as he put up 17 points on just six field goal attempts.
2. Hayward’s “Hot Streak” Continues
The hot streak continues to be more than just a hot streak for Hayward as he scored 26 with almost no shot creators around him. Hayward carried this team offensively and was “The Guy” as answered the call when the team needed him. The forward is now averaging 26.7 points per game over the last ten games while getting to the line 9.1 times per game and shooting 48.5% from the field and 47.8% from three.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 11, 2016
3. Rudy Gay Needs To Be Traded
Gay has expressed his unhappiness with the Kings and he has even stated he has no intention to resign with the team. At times Rudy Gay looked like the best player on the Kings. While he has his flaws and is inefficient at times, he is still really fun to watch and it would be great to see him on a contending team. The Clippers are an example of a team who could use Gay’s talents immensely.
17 Points, 14 Rebounds, 6 Blocks, 5-6 FG, 7-8 FT, +9
Gobert had a season high six blocks and as previously mentioned scored 17 points on just six field foal attempts. Cousin’s was terribly inefficient scoring 16 points on 22 shots, and a that was in many ways due to the defense of the Gobert. He impacted the game on both ends and is quickly becoming one of the best centers in the game.
Play of the Game
It was hard to pick just one of Gobert’s six blocks as a highlight, but this was pretty fantastic.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 11, 2016
Prior to the game Fivethirtyeight.com had given the Jazz an 86% chance to win the match and projected them to be winning 50 games with a 97% chance to make the playoffs. With the win the Jazz were bumped up to 51 wins in the projections.