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  • Kings guard Tyreke Evans shoots over the Jazz's Gordon Hayward. Evans finished with a team-high 19 points but played just the last 3:06 of the final quarter and was scoreless. Jim Urquhart Associated Press

  • The Kings' Marcus Thornton, left, and the Jazz's Gordon Hayward scramble for a loose ball in Sacramento's loss to Utah on Friday night in Salt Lake City. Jim Urquhart Associated Press

Good vibes short-lived as old traits return

Published: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 - 2:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Kings were 8:31 away from their first road win this season and proving they could play with intensity against an NBA team that isn't considered elite.

Then the Kings proceeded to do everything that's kept them at the bottom of the standings.

They botched a 13-point fourth-quarter lead and stumbled to a 104-102 loss to the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night, thanks to a jumper by Utah's Gordon Hayward with 4.5 seconds to play.

The final 8:31 was a collection of missed shots and bad decisions that made the good vibes of Wednesday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers a fleeting memory.

"We fell apart," said Kings head coach Keith Smart.

How did the Kings fall apart?

"We started doing one-on-one, we turned the ball over, unfinished plays," Smart said. "Everything we had done to get us in that position on the road in this building, against this team where you don't win often, and we just (let) the game get away."

The Kings led 92-79 with 8:31 to play before the Jazz used a 21-7 run to take a 100-99 lead with 2:11 left.

The Jazz used four free throws from backcourt fouls by DeMarcus Cousins to take the lead after trailing 99-96 with 2:51 remaining.

"Mental mistakes," Smart said. "Mistakes down the stretch. Fouling, fouling, fouling put us in a tough situation."

Tyreke Evans might have been the Kings' best player but was on the bench for most of the Jazz comeback. Evans finished with a team-high 19 points but played just the last 3:06 of the final quarter and was scoreless.

"We were up and the team had a good flow," said Smart when asked if Evans could have come back into the game sooner. "All you had to do was do the right thing and close the game out the right way. We tried to go one-on-one, and we lost the ball, we had bad shots."

Evans said he didn't consider asking Smart to go back in during Utah's comeback.

"Nah, I'm not that type of player," Evans said. "I don't want to seem like I'm trying to get points or something like that. But I do want to win. He's the coach at the end of the day. If he feels like putting me in, he puts me in, and that's all I can do."

In spite of the poor shooting (8 of 21) in the final quarter and excessive fouling (nine), the Kings still had a chance to win.

The Kings (3-9) had the ball with the score tied 102-102 with 32.4 seconds to play. Aaron Brooks had the ball on a play Smart said was supposed to be a pick-and-roll.

The problem was no one came up to set a pick for Brooks. So he attacked Jamaal Tinsley, who was playing for injured starter Mo Williams (sprained right ankle).

Brooks lost the ball driving at Tinsley with 14.9 seconds left. The Jazz (7-6) would go ahead on Hayward's shot.

"It's up to your interpretation," Brooks said of his final drive. "Between me and Tinsley, it was a foul. He thought so and I thought so. But everybody has their own interpretation of the play. They have hard job. The refs have a hard job and you can't get mad at them."

So that left the Kings to be mad at themselves.

"No way we should have lost that game," Evans said. "We were up by a big margin."

But holding onto it proved to be too much to handle.

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