Sacramento Kings

Why the Kings ‘just didn’t have it’ in their third meeting this season with the Jazz

De’Aaron Fox summed it up in five words: “We just didn’t have it.”

From turnovers to not getting shot attempts and seeing Ricky Rubio have one of his best games this season, not much went right for the Kings in a 133-112 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

One night after coming up just short against the Golden State Warriors, the Kings returned home to play the Jazz four days after beating them on their floor.

The Kings opened strong, with jumpers from Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic – making his first start of the season – putting Sacramento up 7-0.

After that, it soon became all Jazz, even without Donovan Mitchell.

“They went 133-105 in the next 46 minutes,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “We played a good veteran team … who was not excited about us tripping them up on their home floor last week. They came in very focused and dialed in.”

No one more so than Rubio. The veteran point guard was 7 of 8 in the first quarter, and his 16 points in the period were three more than he had Wednesday, when he opened 0 for 7 and finished 4 of 15.

“We were playing against (Sacramento) a week ago. I knew their game plan – it was letting me shoot, so I was ready for that,” said Rubio, who finished with a game-high 27 points Sunday. “Plus, Donovan wasn’t in the game so I had to be a bit more aggressive, but the ball went in a couple times and I kept shooting.”

Mitchell, who scored 14 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday, sat out with a rib contusion. His teammates picked up the slack, as the Jazz had six players scoring in double figures while winning every quarter.

The Kings trailed by double digits early in the third, but pulled to within 81-77 on a layup by Harry Giles III, who filled the stat sheet with 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks.

They would get no closer, as the Jazz (9-11) needed less than two minutes to get it back to double digits and kept a lead of 10 or more the rest of the way.

“Not much can really be said,” said Fox, who had 13 points and three assists. “We just didn’t have it tonight. We didn’t bring it and we just got blown out.”

The Jazz have won two of the three meetings between the teams this season, both coming at Golden 1 Center. Utah spoiled Sacramento’s season opener with a 123-117 victory Oct. 17. They’ll meet one more time near the end of the regular season on April 5 at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Bogdanovic led the Kings (10-10) with 20 points. He thought Sunday’s letdown may have been more mental than physical. The Kings were coming off a one-point loss to the Warriors in Oakland on Saturday. Klay Thompson’s putback with five seconds left won it for the two-time defending champions.

“That’s the NBA. After a tough loss, it’s hard to recover,” he said. “If we won in the last second against a championship team, it would be way easier to recover.”

The physical recovery process started early for some players. Three Sacramento starters – Willie Cauley-Stein, Bjelica and Fox – didn’t play in the fourth. Another sign the Kings were tired: The NBA’s No. 2 in pace scored a season-low 13 fast-break points.

“I think we ran out of gas a little bit there physically and then mentally, even more so,” Joerger said. “That’s the sign of a young team. We’ve got to tighten some stuff back up.”

They’ll have three days off to prepare for their first nationally televised game of the season. The Kings host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday on TNT.

Bagley continues to score – Marvin Bagley III seems to be finding his scoring touch.

The rookie forward had 18 points Sunday for his fifth consecutive game of at least 10 points. During that stretch, the No. 2 overall pick is averaging 16 points a game on 54.4 percent shooting.

Bagley played at 30 minutes for the second game in a row while some of his teammates were held out late.

“We just had a lot of mistakes – turnovers that we don’t usually have,” said Bagley, who committed just one of the Kings’ 17 turnovers. “I just think everybody was kind of tired from a hard game yesterday.

“It’s just one of those days. We’ve got to come out ready to play every night whatever the circumstances are or what the schedule says.”

Noel Harris: 916-321-1602, @SacBeeNoel
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