Kings Edge Out Jazz 104-103
Sports Fan Insider
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – DeMarcus Cousins scored 27 points, including the winning free throw with 3.8 seconds left, and the Sacramento Kings ended a four-game losing streak with a 104-103 victory Friday night over the Utah Jazz.
The win snapped Utah’s seven-game home winning streak, while the Kings (18-33) won on the road for only the fifth time all season.
Al Jefferson led Utah (27-25) with 27 points. Gordon Hayward added 19, but couldn’t get his driving layup to fall, and Utah’s tip-in attempt was too late.
Cousins left briefly to get stitches under his left eyebrow.
Marcus Thornton added 26 points for Sacramento.
Utah’s rookie guard Alec Burks outplayed former Brigham Young star Jimmer Fredette, but Burks’ late turnover gave the Kings a chance to win it. Cousins, who was fouled, made one of two free throws.
The Jazz shot 35 percent, including 0 for 13 for Derrick Favors.
The Jazz and Kings seemed headed in opposite directions, with Utah having won seven of its last nine coming into Friday’s game. But each of the three previous meetings had been close.
In the first meeting, Fredette had a chance to win it late, but shot an air-ball 3-pointer.
Eight days ago, the Jazz won on Jefferson’s last-second tip-in.
On Friday, Fredette’s 17-foot jumper gave the Kings an 88-86 lead with 7:34 left to play, but the Jazz scored six straight, capped by Burks’ baseline jumper.
Thornton’s 3-pointer cut the gap to 1 but Burks followed with his own 3, then fed Hayward for a fast-break layup and a 97-91 Utah lead.
But the Kings scrapped behind Cousins, his three-point play off a nice move inside, tying it at 101 with 2:20 left,
It was tied at 103 when Burks lost the ball out of bounds with 15 seconds left.
Utah knew Cousins would get the ball but Earl Watson was called for the foul, and Cousins came through at the line.
The Jazz trailed by as many as nine points in the first quarter but fought back, outscoring Sacramento 30-24 in the second to take a 59-56 lead at the break.
Burks gave Utah its first lead with 6:15 left in the half when he stole the ball, and scored at the other end on a putback.
While Fredette was the marquee name and is seeing his minutes diminish under new head coach Keith Smart, Burks was quietly gaining the confidence of Jazz brass and teammates.
Burks, taken two spots behind Fredette and the No. 12 overall, is averaging 7 points and 2.1 rebounds a game. He had that by halftime Friday and finished with 15 points and was on the court instead of Devin Harris with the game on the line.
For the Kings, as the sign in the arena said Friday, it’s still time to Simmer Jimmer.
Fredette, who has been surpassed by diminutive point guard Isaiah Thomas in the lineup, made his first shot Friday after entering with 2:46 left in the first quarter and hit a jumper in the fourth. But he looked like a man lacking confidence. He missed a pair of free throws, was called for a lane violation and traveling and was 0 of 2 from beyond the arc.
He finished with four points in 16 minutes in his second game back in Utah.
Thomas added 19 for Sacramento on 6-of-8 shooting.
The Jazz shot just 42.8 percent in the first half. The shooting woes continued in the second, especially for Favors, who set a Jazz futility mark. Utah shot 52 free throws but made just 38.
Notes: Jazz swingman Josh Howard was at Friday’s game just eight days after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Howard already has been rehabbing the knee with hopes he will be able to play again should the Jazz make the playoffs, and possibly even sooner. … Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans did not dress because of back spasms. … Smart reflected on Friday being the 25th anniversary of his winning shot that gave Indiana a 74-73 win over Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA championship game. “It reminds me every time I look in the mirror that 25 years ago I had a full head of hair,” he joked. “Today is always special.” … At halftime, the Jazz honored Hall of Fame golfer Billy Casper, a Utah resident.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.