SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings return home licking their wounds after a disastrous three-game road trip. They draw the upstart Utah Jazz who have hovered around .500 for most of the year.
For one of the few times this season, the Kings turned up the defensive intensity in Oklahoma City, holding the Thunder to 98 points on 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 27.3 percent from the line. Sacramento focused their attention on taking away Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and almost came away with a big time road win.
The bench has been a strength for Sacramento all season long. Veterans Darren Collison, Marco Belinelli and Kosta Koufos combined to score 42 points on 14-for-28 shooting Sunday evening in OKC. George Karl will need a similar effort from this group Tuesday against a deep Jazz team.
Gordon Hayward leads Utah in scoring at 18.6 per contest, but the Jazz get solid contributions from power forward Derrick Favors and combo guard Alec Burks and plenty of others. Coach Quin Snyder’s team plays hard for 48 minutes and will provide tough competition for the Kings in their homecoming.
Kings by 2
MATCHUP TO WATCH
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Derrick Favors -- Cousins has had it out for Favors since the former Georgia Tech big went two spots above him in the 2010 NBA Draft. In his sixth NBA season, Favors is finally playing to his draft status as a third overall selection, averaging 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.2 blocks in 32.2 minutes per night. Cousins is mired in a three game slump, averaging just 14.3 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 24.5 percent from the field, including 2-of-11 from three. He would love nothing more than to break out against Favors and lead his struggling team to victory.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 7-15, fourth place in Pacific
Jazz: 9-9, second place in Northwest
Kings: F-C Willie Cauley-Stein (right index finger) out 4-6 weeks.
Jazz: C Rudy Gobert (left knee) out, PG Dante Exum (left knee) out.
This is the first of three matchups between these two teams this season. Utah took the season series 3-1 last year and currently owns a three game win streak over the Kings. The Jazz hold a 98-79 all-time lead over the Kings and a 75-46 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
"We're not trying to come in here and pat ourselves on the back. An "L" is an "L". We're a better team than what we've been showing, especially on this road trip, and it starts with me.” - Cousins following the Kings loss to OKC