Harrison Barnes made a putback basket with 2.9 seconds remaining and the Kings won their first game under coach Luke Walton, beating the Utah Jazz 102-101 on Friday night at Golden 1 Center.
“I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t feel good to get this first one,” Walton said.
The Kings led 97-88 with five minutes remaining, but the Jazz staged a 9-0 run to tie the game and took a 101-100 lead on a layup by Donovan Mitchell with 11.2 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, De’Aaron Fox drove into the paint and kicked out to Nemanja Bjelica, who missed a 3-pointer from the corner. Barnes flew in to grab the rebound and made the putback to reclaim the lead for Sacramento.
Fox had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Kings (1-5), who avenged a 32-point loss to the Jazz last weekend in Salt Lake City. Buddy Hield scored 18 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 14 and Barnes had 13.
Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points for the Jazz (4-2), but he missed a 3-pointer as time expired. Mike Conley had 19 points. Bojan Bogdanovic posted 17 points and six rebounds.
The Kings were clinging to a two-point lead midway through the fourth quarter when Fox lost the ball while driving into the lane. In the scramble for the loose ball, Fox went to the floor and managed to poke it out to Bogdan Bogdanovic, who buried a 28-foot 3-pointer to put Sacramento up 86-81.
The Kings carried a 51-48 lead into the locker room at halftime, the fifth time in six games they have been tied or leading at the break. Utah outscored Sacramento 32-30 in the third, but the Kings managed to maintain the lead this time to take an 81-80 advantage into the fourth quarter. Sacramento has been outscored in the third quarter of all six games by an aggregate score of 185-129.
Man in the middle
Walton chose to start Richaun Holmes at center instead of Dewayne Dedmon for the second game in a row. Both players had some nice moments, including a few highlight-reel dunks. Holmes had eight points, two rebounds and two steals. Dedmon, who made a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute, finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Kings canceled their morning shootarounds Wednesday and Friday, opting instead to hold closed sessions at 4 p.m. Walton said he chose to hold shootaround closer to tipoff time in hopes of keeping players energized for the games.
“Trying to find a way to have our guys as fresh and energetic as possible come 7 o’clock at night,” Walton said. “So (we’re) getting some of the shootaround work done the day before at practice and letting them have the day to really rest and get ready for the game.”
The Kings accomplished one of their objectives over the first five games, hitting Walton’s stated goal of 35 3-point attempts per game after firing up 46 in Wednesday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. They were 12th in the league in 3-point attempts going into Friday’s game, but they were 19th in 3-point shooting at 33.1 percent. They made 8 of 29 against Utah.
Conley getting comfortable
After spending his first 12 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Conley struggled in his first four games with the Jazz, averaging 7.8 points on 9-of-45 shooting from the field and 3-of-20 shooting from 3-point range. Conley broke out of his funk in Wednesday’s victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, making 11 of 17 field-goal attempts and 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. He was 5 of 13 from the field and 3 of 9 from long distance against the Kings.
Kings: OUT – Marvin Bagley III (thumb), Harry Giles III (knee).
Jazz: OUT – Dante Exum (knee).
Sacramento Kings upcoming schedule
Nov. 3 at New York Knicks
Nov. 6 at Toronto Raptors
Nov. 8 at Atlanta Hawks
Nov. 12 vs. Portland
Nov. 15 at Los Angeles Lakers