Sacramento Kings

Buzzer Beater: News and analysis from the Kings’ 113-81 loss to the Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell shoots the ball between Sacramento Kings forward Trevor Ariza and Sacramento Kings forward Richaun Holmes.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell shoots the ball between Sacramento Kings forward Trevor Ariza and Sacramento Kings forward Richaun Holmes. AP

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton said he wanted his young team to focus on defense in his first season. Three games into the season, there’s still no sign of it.

Sacramento’s defense again looked awful and the offense wasn’t much better Saturday night as the Utah Jazz easily racked up a 113-81 win.

The Jazz (2-1) immediately ran away from the Kings (0-3) as Sacramento struggled on both ends of the floor. The Kings had trouble holding on to the ball, with four turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. Utah, meanwhile, was red hot, shooting 25-for-42 in the first half and 13-for 22 from three-point range. The result: A 25-point Jazz lead at halftime.

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Utah kept its foot on the gas in the third quarter as the Kings offense managed just 17 points. Walton turned to his reserves to finish out the loss as most of the second half was garbage time.

Holmes makes some noise

Richaun Holmes provided a little offensive noise for the Kings off the bench. The big man came off a pick and roll in the third quarter for a thunderous dunk, then added a nifty spin move for a layup. He finished with six points in 15 minutes. The Kings needed the help. Starting center Dewayne Dedmon had 11 points but seven turnovers as the Kings offense continued to misfire.

Jazz struggling to adapt

Key new players. Team leaders that talk about changing things up but the product on the floor looks the same. The Jazz can relate to the Kings’ adjustment period. While coach Quin Snyder is in his sixth season, the Jazz are trying to integrate new players like guard Mike Conley Jr., who has not lived up to expectations. The free agent pickup is shooting 14.8 percent from the field and just 9.1 percent from three-point range. It’s a small sample size and Snyder says he’s not worried.

“You become instinctive when you have seen something over and over again and you recognize it quickly and you can make a quick decision,” Snyder said. “There is not as much clarity [in our decisions] for us right now in some of those situations. That will come. It’s just something that we just have to keep playing games. We have to keep practicing when we see some things in games.”

Back to back

The Kings were playing three games in four nights to start the season. They got their first back-to-back out of the way quickly visiting Utah Jazz on Saturday night after playing host to Portland on Friday. The Jazz were also on the second night of a back-to-back after visiting the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The Kings will play 13 sets of back-to-back games this season.

Injury report

Jazz: OUT — Dante Exum (knee).

Kings: OUT — Marvin Bagley III (right thumb fracture), Harry Giles III (left knee soreness). QUESTIONABLE — De’Aaron Fox (hip).

Sacramento Kings upcoming schedule

Oct. 28 vs. Denver Nuggets

Oct. 30 vs. Charlotte Hornets

Nov. 1 vs. Utah Jazz

Nov. 3 at New York Knicks

Nov. 6 at Toronto Raptors

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James Patrick has covered the beer scene from Maine to California. (OK, mostly just those two.) He’s worked at newspapers in six states as a sports reporter, sports editor, social media editor and newspaper carrier. He’s as comfortable drinking a High Life as a wild-fermented raspberry sour.