Rocky Widner NBAE/Getty Images
The Roundup—Jazz 112, Kings 82
With a tough closing schedule awaiting, the Utah Jazz traveled to Sacramento and came away with a much-needed 112-82 win over the Kings on Wednesday night.
The Jazz (46-29) currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, and they're 1.5 games ahead of the LA Clippers with seven games left in the regular season. Utah, though, has the toughest remaining schedule of any team in the NBA, with games against San Antonio (2), Portland (2), Golden State, Washington and Minnesota.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points, while Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Rodney Hood chipped in 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Shelvin Mack (14 points) and Joe Ingles (12 points) scored in double figures for the Jazz off the bench.
Ben McLemore scored a season-high 22 points off the bench for Sacramento (29-46) in the loss.
After missing Monday's game with a quad contusion, Hayward wasted no time making his mark against the Kings. His assist led to a three-point play by Gobert for the first points of the game, and then he proceeded to score 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter. Hayward added seven rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes.
The Jazz came out of the gates in a hurry, jumping out to an 11-0 lead behind a three-point play by Gobert, 3-pointers by Hayward and Hood, and a wrap-around layup by Boris Diaw (and 0-for-9 shooting by the Kings). The Jazz pushed their lead to 20 by the end of the first quarter and led by as many as 24 in the first half.
The Kings, though, rallied and cut Utah's lead to two midway through the third quarter. The Jazz responded with a corner three by Ingles and breakaway dunk by Hayward. A bucket by Mack, a three-point play by Jeff Withey, and another 3-pointer by Hood helped Utah push its lead back to 11 by the end of the third quarter.
Utah outscored Sacramento 68-29 in the first and fourth quarters combined. The Jazz shot 65.0 percent from the field over those quarters, while the Kings shot only 36.4 percent.
The Jazz lit it up from outside for the second straight game. After making 15 3-pointers against New Orleans on Monday, Utah shot 13-for-32 (40.6 percent) from beyond the arc against the Kings. Hood shot a perfect 5-for-5 from downtown, while Hayward (3-for-5) and Ingles (2-for-4) also made multiple triples. Sacramento shot only 2-for-15 from 3-point range.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"If we don't score, we'll handle that. We'll make adjustments and talk about what we need to do. But our defense can't ever let down. ... It's hard in life to be consistent every day. That doesn't mean you don't strive for that."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Gobert failed to block a shot for the first time since December 23 against Toronto, a streak of 42 straight games. ... George Hill (groin), Raul Neto (groin) and Derrick Favors (knee) were out for the Jazz. ... Utah outrebounded Sacramento 43-32. ... Mack scored in double figures for the first time since January 5.
The Jazz will return home for a matchup with the Washington Wizards on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on ROOT SPORTS.