Sacramento Kings v Utah Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: Donovan Mitchell #45, Mike Conley #10, and Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz celebrate during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 18, 2020 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

The Roundup—Utah Jazz share the ball and get back to their winning ways with a 123-101 victory over Sacramento

by Aaron Falk

The play started with Jordan Clarkson driving toward the hoop and dropping a pocket pass to Tony Bradley. From there the ball swung to Royce O’Neale, then Donovan Mitchell, then Mike Conley. It went back to O’Neale, who sucked the defense in on a drive to the hoop and, finally, kicked the ball back out to Mitchell for a wide-open 3.

Splash.

“That’s our unselfishness,” Bojan Bogdanovic said.

“That’s demoralizing,” Rudy Gobert added.

“That,” Mike Conely said, “is Jazz basketball.”

And there was a lot of Utah Jazz Basketball on display in Saturday night’s 123-101 win over the Sacramento Kings.

“We’ve got a group of guys that play for each other,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “When you do that, the basket gets bigger and everybody shoots the ball with confidence because they feel like they’re supposed to. There is never a ‘my turn.’ It’s always ‘our turn.’”

The Jazz (29-13) shook off the disappointment of Thursday night’s overtime defeat in New Orleans thanks in no small part to monster nights from Gobert and Bogdanovic. The latter finished the game with 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, while the former bolstered his All-Star case with 28 points, 15 boards and three blocked shots.

“We kind of missed playing at Vivint. We went on the road for a long time,” Bogdanovic said. “But, once again, our defense was on point. Our communication was great. … Offensively, just our unselfishness, no matter who is scoring, who shooting, we are moving the ball. We had a couple possessions where we moved the ball fast from one side to the other hitting the 3. So we are just feeling great about all of us in the locker room.”

For the second time in eight days, the Jazz had four players score at least 20 points. Mitchell had 22 points and Clarkson finished with 20 off the bench.

Joe Ingles, meanwhile, dished out 12 of the team’s 24 assists.

For Sacramento, guard De’Aaron Fox had 21 points and eight assists. Big man Marvin Bagley had 17 points nad seven boards.

Saturday’s Best: Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert isn’t worried about making the All-Star team. But with performances like he had Saturday, it will be hard to keep the Stifle Tour out of Chicago next month. Gobert feasted against the Kings, scoring 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He grabbed 15 rebounds. He blocked three shots.

“Rudy was a monster once again,” Bogdanovic said.

“I just keep working every day,” Gobert said. “I just try to improve. I also feel like my teammates are really looking for me. I just have to make the right play every time.”

Key Stretches

The Jazz carved up the Sacramento defense early, scoring on 10 consecutive possessions to build up a 24-10 lead. The Jazz shot 64 percent from the floor in the first quarter and both Bogdanovic (14) and Gobert (10) were in double-figures by the end of the frame.

A Jordan Clarkson layup gave the Jazz a 22-point lead early in the second quarter. The Kings slowly chipped away at the the lead from there, trimming the advantage to 12 on a Nemanja Bjelica 3 in the third quarter.

The Jazz didn’t give the Kings hope for long. Bojan Bogdanovic drilled a 3 with 8:14 to play in the third, kicking of a 17-5 run over a stretch of about four minutes. The run pushed the lead back into the 20s.

A pair of triples to close out the third quarter and eight quick points to start the fourth quarter, cut the lead to 99-85. That’s when a long Mike Conley 3 and a steal and breakaway dunk by Clarkson brought the Vivint Arena crowd to its feet. The Jazz would roll to victory from there. “Our focus is better. We’re doing the little things,” Mitchell said. “Being able to stay locked in and focused. They made a little push. For us to be able to withstand the run and be able to push back is huge.”

Significant Stats

10

The Blender was in full effect early on Saturday. Not only did the Jazz scored on 10 straight possessions in the first, they also assisted on 10 of their 15 made baskets in the period.

20

With Rudy Gobert rocking the rim, the Jazz outscore the Kings 56-52 in the paint. The Jazz are 20-3 on the year when they lead in that category.

0

Every team wants shots at the rim and behind the 3-point line. The Jazz were masterful at that on Saturday. The team attempted 85 field goals against the King—all of them came either in the paint or behind the arc. “Wow,” Mitchell said when informed of the stat after the game. “It’s a matter of coverage, especially for me. I shoot those a lot. I think it’s a matter of those looks weren’t there. The big was up. That’s why Rudy had 10 points in the first 5-6 minutes. And on top of that, we have the corner pass. That’s what’s so great about this team. If they want to take the midrange away, we have different counters.”

Notable

• Mike Conley suited up for the first time since aggravating his hamstring back on Dec. 17. The point guard checked in late in the first quarter and received a rousing ovation from the home crowd.

“It’s not a good thing, it’s a great thing,” Snyder said of Conley’s return to the lineup. “There is obviously going to be a period of adjustment for him. That’s normal, whether it’s conditioning or timing. But, more than anything, we’re just excited to have him back.”

Conley was on a minutes restriction in his first game back. He played 15 minutes and finished with three points and three assists.

• The Kings were without forward Trevor Ariza, center Caleb Swanigan and forward Wenyen Gabriel because of a pending trade.

Up Next

The Jazz will be back at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Monday night to host the Indiana Pacers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MT.

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