Kings Blog

Not quite as dominant, Mitchell still powers red-hot Jazz past the Kings

Sacramento Kings forward Skal Labissiere (7) looks to pass the ball to teammate Zach Randolph (50), not in photo, as he’s defended by the Utah Jazz during their game at the Golden 1 Center on Saturday, March 3, 2018.
Sacramento Kings forward Skal Labissiere (7) looks to pass the ball to teammate Zach Randolph (50), not in photo, as he’s defended by the Utah Jazz during their game at the Golden 1 Center on Saturday, March 3, 2018. The Sacramento Bee

Donovan Mitchell posted a game-high 27 points to go with five assists as the Utah Jazz defeated the Kings, 98-91, Saturday night at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings (19-44) have dropped 10 of their last 13 games. Utah (33-30) has won 14 of 16.

De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 17 points. Skal Labissiere had 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 15 points.

The Jazz took control of the game in the first quarter and led by as many as 18.

Center Rudy Gobert had 16 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks for the Jazz. Derrick Favors added 15 points and eight rebounds.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Lessons learned

For the second time in a week, the Kings faced a guard who had torched them in the previous meeting. Tuesday it was Portland’s Damian Lillard and Saturday it was Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell dominated the Kings on Jan. 17, finishing with a game-high 34 points. Mitchell still had a good game, but Sacramento didn’t let him take command as he did before.

The young backcourt is going to have its struggles, but how the Kings bounce back might be more important.

Appreciating the vet

Kosta Koufos was supposed to sit out Saturday, but ended up in the starting lineup as Willie Cauley-Stein was out with a strained lower back.

One thing Koufos won’t do in that situation is complain.

Koufos was used to being in the playoffs before signing with the Kings in 2015. He’s sat out games while healthy and handled it well, always ready to play.

And when Koufos does play, he’s been effective defensively more often than not. He entered Saturday averaging 6.2 rebounds, on pace for the second-highest average of his career, while playing 18.8 minutes per game.

All-around game

Labissiere needs to show more of a well-rounded game as his second season comes to close. He did that against the Jazz.

In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Labissiere also had three assists and three blocks.

Labissiere was also playing center in the fourth quarter, which is no easy matchup against Gobert. If Labissiere shows he can play minutes at center, it makes him more versatile and valuable than if he is strictly a power forward.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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