Jazz 92, Kings 82

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—There hasn’t been much the Utah Jazz want to remember from their first losing season since 1983.

And ending a five-year home losing streak to the Sacramento Kings won’t make up for losing more than 50 games, but it was a good way to say goodbye to Utah’s fans for the offseason.

“We don’t have a lot to play for other than to hopefully gain a little respect from the fans and the game itself,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said after Utah’s 92-82 win over Sacramento on Monday night in the home finale.

The Jazz last beat the Kings in Utah on April 19, 2000, back when both teams were playoff-bound. This year, only the Kings will still be playing next week as the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

Sacramento never got closer than four points in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t think you can limit it to the fourth quarter. We didn’t play well enough to win the whole game,” Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said.

Matt Harpring had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Mehmet Okur got his 22nd double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who finished their home season with an 18-23 record.

There has been some worry among Jazz fans who think Sloan may have coached his last game in Utah. But the 63-year-old said he plans to treat this summer like any other—return to his southern Illinois farm, then think about whether he wants to come back for an 18th season with the Jazz.

“That comes as kind of a natural progression whenever I’ve gone home the last three or four years and get away from basketball,” Sloan said.

Monday’s game will be at least one positive thing for Sloan to remember. Utah snapped the nine-game home losing streak to the Kings, holding Sacramento to 5-for-22 shooting in the fourth quarter.

“That’s how we have to play. This isn’t a finesse league. Especially down the stretch, you can’t finesse your way into a win,” Harpring said.

Mike Bibby had 26 points and six assists and Darius Songaila finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento.

The Kings also missed their second straight chance at clinching its fifth consecutive 50-win season. The Kings close the regular season Wednesday at home against Phoenix.

The Rockets and Kings were tied for fifth entering the night, but Houston owned the tiebreaker with a better conference record. The Kings were without Peja Stojakovic (groin) for the second straight game and trailed most of the night.

“Obviously you want the highest seed, but you’ve got to live with what it is,” Bibby said.

In the fourth quarter, Utah easily held off Sacramento’s rallies.

Gordan Giricek finished with 12 points and five assists for Utah and Okur added four assists. Utah avoided getting swept by the Kings in the three meetings this season.

Sacramento had a chance to take the lead with Brian Skinner shooting two free throws midway through the third quarter, but he had an airball on his first attempt and was short again on the second.

The Jazz answered with a 3-pointer by Giricek to go up 56-52, then Collins added a three-point play and Harpring made a reverse layup to cap an 8-0 run.

Utah led 71-62 at the end of the third and never let the Kings get closer than four points in the final period.

Kenny Thomas, who scored 11 points, got Sacramento within 84-80 on two free throws with 2:02 remaining, but Keith McLeod made two layups and Okur added a free throw in a 5-1 run.


Sacramento C Greg Ostertag, who spent nine inconsistent seasons with the Jazz, was booed every time he touched the ball. … The Jazz close their first losing season since 1983 on Wednesday at Sacramento. … Corliss Williamson scored 13 points for Sacramento.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
M. Bibby M. Bibby
9-23,  26 Pts
3 Rebs, 6 Assists
M. Okur M. Okur
7-14,  21 Pts
12 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders