SACRAMENTO, CA - The Utah Jazz go for the home-and-home series sweep over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night at the Sleep Train Arena.
The Jazz squeezed out a 104-102 victory on Friday, thanks to Gordon Hayward, who is clearly embracing his role off the bench. Demoted from the starting lineup three games ago, Hayward has scored double-figures in every game, including 23 on Friday.
Hayward poured in a long jumper with 4.5 seconds to go and helped the Jazz polish off a 13-point comeback.
"I thought we won with a lot of grit, gut, staying together, understanding the time and moment of the game and what we had to do and our defense," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "That last seven minutes, I don't know off-hand, but I think we had 11 or 12 stops out of 13 or 14 at the end and they were big defensive plays."
The Jazz, who are undefeated at home this season, were also aided by some bonehead moves from the Kings. Sacramento put Utah in the penalty early in the fourth quarter and the Jazz went 13-for-15 from the foul line.
Derrick Favors had started the last two games, but Corbin re-inserted Marvin Williams into the starting lineup and the decision worked. Williams had a season-high 20 points.
Sacramento played brilliantly for three quarters, shooting 54.2 percent from the field. DeMarcus Cousins dominated the third frame with 10 of 14 points, but did very little positive in the final quarter.
The Kings managed a respectable 22 points in the fourth, but shot 38 percent from the field. They surrendered 31 points and their leader is getting frustrated.
"Mental mistakes, mistakes down the stretch, fouling, fouling, all those things put us in a tough situation to win," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "Mental mistakes that I've talked about all year killed our team tonight."
Smart has also tinkered with his starting lineup of late. Aaron Brooks took Isaiah Thomas' job as the starting point guard and in fact, Thomas didn't even play on Friday night. Brooks scored in double-figures in his last two starts, including 17 in the losing effort on Friday.
Six Kings scored in double-figures against the Jazz, led by 19 from Tyreke Evans. Sacramento is second in the NBA in points in the paint, averaging 46.7 ppg.
The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 16-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. But the bottom-dwellers in the Pacific rank 24th in scoring and 25th in opponents' scoring.
The Jazz, who have won three in a row, are 6-3 in their last nine against the Kings. Utah is 4-3 in its last seven games in California's capital.
The Sports Network