The Roundup—Jazz 120, Kings 105
The Jazz traveled to Sacramento Wednesday night and came away with exactly what they needed—a decisive, never-in-doubt victory for the first time in over a month.
Utah took the lead late in the first quarter and didn't look back, cruising to a 120-105 win over the Kings.
"We were just focused, that's all it is," Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell said after the game. "We were locked in from the get-go. We've been through a tough stretch, but we compete and the improvement is showing in games like tonight."
Mitchell led all scorers with 34 points, while Rodney Hood (25 points, eight rebounds) and Joe Ingles (14 points, four 3-pointers) broke out of their recent shooting slumps to give Utah's offense a huge lift.
Derrick Favors double-doubled with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win for the Jazz (18-26).
Willie Cauley-Stein led the Kings (13-31) with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 25 points. Bogdanovic shot 9-for-11 from the field, including a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point range. Former Jazz guard George Hill chipped in 20 points in the loss.
The Donovan Mitchell highlight machine was in full gear once again. When the rookie wasn't busy throwing down monster dunks (he had three) he was slinging passes to open teammates, pulling up for silky smooth jumpers, or driving into the lane for acrobatic buckets. Mitchell finished with 34 points on 14-for-19 shooting, and he added one rebound, three assists and three steals in 34 minutes. Sacramento's rookie point guard De'Aaron Fox (the No. 5 overall pick) had six points (on 1-for-6 shooting) and four assists in 36 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Sacramento got off to a hot start and led 18-8 midway through the first quarter, but the Jazz answered with a 15-3 run. Favors knocked down a baseline jumper and converted a three-point play, while Mitchell grabbed a steal and threw down a windmill dunk in the open court. Royce O'Neale put down a transition layup, and Hood canned two 3-pointers (including one that just beat the first-quarter buzzer).
The Jazz led for much of the first half and then extended their lead to as many as 20 early in the third quarter. Ingles canned three 3-pointers, Jerebko drilled a corner three of his own, and Mitchell converted a three-point play to keep the Jazz rolling. They cruised to the victory from there.
After finishing with only 11 assists in the loss to Indiana on Monday, Utah dished out 26 assists against the Kings. Ricky Rubio led the Jazz with seven assists in the win.
The Jazz forced 19 turnovers—and commited only 10 turnovers themselves. Utah scored 27 points off of Sacramento's miscues. Rubio grabbed a team-high four steals, while Mitchell had three. Hood, Joe Johnson and Ekpe Udoh finished with two each.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"We hadn't shot the ball well in a while, and I think it was good for a lot of our guys to see the ball go in the basket."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Mitchell has now scored 30+ points five times this season. ... Rudy Gobert (knee) missed his 15th straight game for the Jazz. ... Danté Exum, who has not played this season after suffering a shoulder injury during the preseason, was cleared for non-contact basketball activities on Wednesday. Exum traveled with the team and took part in the pregame shootaround. ... Thabo Sefolosha underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee Wednesday morning. ... Both teams shot 16-for-20 (80.0 percent) from the free-throw line. ... Utah made 12 3-pointers. Sacramento made 13. ... Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field. The Jazz shot 56.8 percent, while the Kings shot 52.8 percent.
The Jazz will return home to face the New York Knicks on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm MT.