When the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz were set to square off in a battle of lower-tier Western Conference teams on Saturday night, the eyes of the NBA world weren’t exactly fixated on EnergySolutions Arena. However, the two teams with 31 combined losses in 40 contests just may have produced the most entertaining game of the night.
DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas led the Kings to a 112-102 win in Utah, but they needed an overtime period to do it. Cousins had a monster game with 28 points (on 10 for 15 shooting) and 7 rebounds, while Thomas emerged from the bench (where he is inexplicably tied at this point) with 26 points (on 8 of 14 shooting), 8 assists and 4 steals in just 32 minutes of playing time. Their efforts helped to overcome what was mostly a poor night of offense for Sacramento (41.5% FG, 20% 3-PT), but it was enough in the end.
On the Utah side, this is an unfortunate misstep. No one is under the illusion that the Jazz are competing for anything this year, but it’s never good to lose a home game to a bad team, and that is what Sacramento is at this stage. Trey Burke (19 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists), Gordon Heyward (22 points), and Alec Burks (19 points, 5 assists) each added big days in terms of statistical production, but even with the counting stats, the trio shot just 17-for-48 (35%) in the game, and that inefficiency did them in.
As far as takeaways are concerned, there are positives on both sides. Sacramento’s inside-outside duo of Cousins and Thomas can compete with anyone when they’re both cooking (which is admittedly rare), while Utah’s young players have turned things around a bit, especially since the return of Trey Burke from injury. Brighter days are ahead for both clubs, but it may not be for a few years.