The Jazz won their second straight game by setting the tone early, coming out with energy against the lethargic Kings and leading by 18 points after one quarter. The lead remained in double figures for much of the game before the Kings made it somewhat close in the fourth.
Shelvin Mack had 14 points and eight assists and for Utah. Rodney Hood scored 14 points and Trevor Booker added 12 for the Jazz, who made 12 3-pointers and outhustled the Kings for three quarters and it showed in the Jazz’s 47-36 overall rebounding edge.
DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points 10 rebounds in his return from being suspended for one game by the Kings, who have lost five straight. Omri Casspi scored 20 points, Darren Collison had 14 and Willie McCauley-Stein had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Cousins was disciplined following a tirade directed at head coach George Karl in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s loss to Cleveland that continued after the game. General manager Vlade Divac suspended the volatile Cousins, calling it “conduct detrimental to the team.” Cousins has been suspended by the Kings and the NBA a combined eight times in six seasons.
Despite Cousins’ return, the slide continued for the Kings, who have dropped nine of 10, and 17 of their last 22 in falling out of the chase for a playoff spot.
Favours made four free throws in the final 37 seconds for Utah. The Jazz didn’t have a field goal in the final two minute before Hayward stole a pass and dunked in the closing seconds.
Trailing 94-76 with just under eight minutes remaining, the Kings scored nine unanswered points, cutting Utah’s lead to nine points. Sacramento trimmed the lead to 104-99 on a 3-pointer by Casspi with 23 seconds left.
The victory pulled the Jazz within two games of idle Dallas and Houston, who are tied for eighth place and the final playoff berth in Western Conference. Utah hasn’t made the playoffs since 2012.
Jazz: Utah made six 3-pointers in the opening quarter and led 36-18. … Rudy Gobert picked up his fourth foul in the first 14 seconds of the third quarter and fouled out in the fourth. … The Jazz have an 11-22 road record. … Hayward had 18 points and Favours 16 in the first half when the Jazz shot 59 per cent and led 61-45.
Kings: Sacramento got off to its customary slow start, trailing 21-7. … Acclaimed Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager attended the game. … Looking for a spark, reserves Seth Curry and McCauley-Stein started the second half. Utah scored the first six points in the third quarter, drawing a chorus of boos from disgruntled Kings fans.
Jazz: Hosts Cleveland on Monday.
Kings: Visit Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.