News » Kings prove royal pain as Jazz record drops to 2-4

Kings prove royal pain as Jazz record drops to 2-4

Kings prove royal pain as Jazz record drops to 2-4 Beno Udrih caught Andrei Kirilenko on a mismatch, and raced past the small forward. Center Mehmet Okur couldn't recover and help, and power forward Carlos Boozer got caught flatfooted between his man and a fake from Udrih. The Sacramento Kings guard was left wide open in the lane to score with 21 seconds remaining, leaving the three Jazz bigs looking a lot like the two statues that stand outside EnergySolutions Arena. The play was a microcosm of frustration that reigned in Utah's 104-99 loss to the Kings on Saturday night, as well as one of the woes of a team now 2-4 heading into a four-game Eastern road trip that opens Monday night in New York.

"I don't think you can put the game on that one play. I think that's very unfair to put it on one play," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "I think you put it on our whole effort throughout the game, except in the fourth quarter." A final-period rally bid for the Jazz that fell short was necessitated by the two quarters of debacle in the second and third. "It was just a bad game for us, period," said point guard Deron Williams, whose 29-point, 15-assist double-double wasn't enough on a night that Sacramento rookie point Tyreke Evans scored a game-high 32 and dished seven assists himself. Williams banked in a 20-footer at the end of the first quarter to send Utah into the second up 30-19, and when rookie Wesley Matthews dunked an alley-oop pass from Ronnie Price the Jazz were up 15 at 39-24. But with Evans scoring 12 of his 32 in the second, Sacramento ? despite not having Kevin Martin (fractured wrist) and his 30.6 points per game ? had it tied at 55 by halftime. Utah scored the first five points of the third quarter, but with the Jazz unable to break an effective Sacramento zone and the Kings scoring at will, coach Paul Westphal's 2-4 team was able to reel off a 19-0 run. "We came out strong, and we played for one quarter, and it looked like we thought we had the ballgame won," said Sloan, whose Jazz beat Sacramento four times last season by an average of 16.8 points per game. "And then they came back and had a big second quarter, and really put us on our heels. "I don't know where all of our energy went, but it went away quickly, because we had a very difficult time trying to guard them, get over screens, get backdoor cuts. They just outplayed us, outcoached us, everything else. "We weren't guarding anybody," the Jazz coach added. "It looked like we were pouting a little bit here and there because things didn't go our way, and (we) didn't have the energy." The Jazz went dry on 10 straight possessions during the 19-0 run, and converted on just one of 16 possessions during a more inclusive stretch in which they were outscored 26-6. Utah found itself down by 20 when Andres Nocioni hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, leaving the Jazz looking for answers. "It's frustrating," said Boozer, who had a 16-point, 17-rebound double-double. "When players on a good team get it going," added Matthews, whose 11 points ? all in the first half ? marked the second straight time he's scored in double figures, "it's tough to stop, regardless of what their record is or where they're playing." The Jazz did chip away in the fourth, though, and closed to within five before Udrih's back-breaking bucket made it 99-92. The play was initiated only after Udrih ? Ronnie Brewer's man ? missed an 18-footer, and Jason Thompson pulled down the board. "We didn't block out and they got the rebound," Williams said. "Brew (Brewer) was out there, everybody was pretty much denying and we just got beat ... because everybody was out on the floor, which we're really not supposed to do. "Nobody could give (Kirilenko, who got caught on a switch) help." Sacramento held on from there, despite a Williams 3-pointer that made it a four-point game with 17.5 seconds remaining. "As a team we've got to get better on both offense and defense, which is rare," Williams said. "You rarely hear us say that on offense, but this year it's been a problem." NOTES: This the first time since the 2002-03 season that the Jazz have started 2-4. ... Ex- Jazz guard and assistant coach Kenny Natt, let go as interim head coach of the Kings after last season, lives now in Atlanta. ... Former (New Orleans) Jazz forward Truck Robinson is now an assistant coach in Sacramento. e-mail:

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Added: November 9, 2009


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