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Smoking Jazz Host Slumping Kings
Posted Dec 15 2006 4:36PM
Utah looks to continue its dominance at home when it meets the slumping Sacramento Kings on Friday.
The Jazz (17-5) have won four of their last five overall, and own the league's best home record at 11-1. The Kings (9-11), meanwhile, are 2-7 on the road this season and have lost their last four games away from home.
Sacramento, which hasn't dropped five straight road games since a six-game skid from Feb. 4-March 2, 2000, has won 10 of its last 12 visits to Salt Lake City.
In the first matchup between these teams this season, Boozer scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Williams had 20 points and 13 assists as the Jazz rallied for a 110-101 victory in Sacramento on Nov. 22.
Utah came back from a 21-point third-quarter deficit in that contest, outscoring the Kings 39-17 in the fourth. The Jazz haven't won two straight over Sacramento since a three-game run in the series from Jan. 22-April 19, 2000.
Boozer and Williams again led Utah in its 105-86 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Boozer had 28 points and 15 rebounds, while Williams matched his career high with 28 points and added 14 assists.
``They're playing at an extremely high level. They're leading us in a lot of ways,'' Jazz guard Derek Fisher said.
Boozer is averaging team highs of 22.6 points and 12.3 rebounds, while Williams - in his second NBA season - is second on the Jazz with 17.3 points and leads the club with 9.2 assists.
``You don't know what to expect when you come into the league,'' said Williams, who was named to the All-Rookie first team last season. ``I'm a lot more confident this year. (Boozer) makes it easy for me. I try to make it easy for him.''
The Jazz shot 51.3 percent from the floor on Wednesday, and are shooting 50.1 percent in five games this month. Utah is also one of the best rebounding teams in the league, averaging 44.1 a contest.
The Kings suffered their sixth loss in seven games Tuesday, 126-113 to Golden State. Sacramento allowed the Warriors to shoot 53.1 percent from the floor, and its opponents are making 46.2 percent of their 3-pointers in the last seven games.
``Obviously, we're not playing very good defensively, collectively and individually,'' Kings coach Eric Musselman said. ``There is a concern.''
Kevin Martin scored 32 points on 10-of-18 shooting Tuesday after scoring 16 or less in each of his four previous games. He leads the Kings in scoring with 21.6 points a contest.
Ron Artest had 22 points against Golden State, and is averaging 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in his last three games after missing the three previous contests with a sore lower back.
Artest scored 19 points in Sacramento's first matchup with Utah this season, while Martin had 24 in that game.
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