The Kings lost yet another player when center Brad Miller didn’t dress because of a bruised thigh and the Jazz capitalized on it with a 117-93 win Monday night, but only after letting a 25-point lead slip to 10 with a sloppy third quarter.
Coach Jerry Sloan was angry that the Jazz couldn’t put away the depleted Kings earlier.
“Well, you’ve got to look at who we were playing tonight. They’ve got three of their best players who didn’t suit up,” Sloan said. “They were short-handed and I don’t think it was anything to do cartwheels about.”
Carlos Boozer had 32 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double in eight games this season and Andrei Kirilenko wasn’t far off from a triple-double. Kirilenko had 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Kirilenko was just one assist away from a triple-double Saturday night against Memphis and two rebounds away Friday night at Seattle.
“I can’t give him enough credit. He’s almost getting a triple-double every night. Rebounds, blocks, scoring,” Boozer said. “He’s everywhere on the court.”
Monday was the seventh and final game of Artest’s league suspension for pleading no contest to a domestic violence charge. Mike Bibby is due back sometime after mid-December.
“I’ve said this before—We’re not just playing for tonight,” Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. “We’re playing for two weeks from now, a couple month from now when we get all of our horses back.”
Utah outrebounded Sacramento 41-32 and forced 19 turnovers. The Jazz improved to 6-2 and have topped 100 points in every game but one this season. Utah had 65 points by halftime and survived a lackluster third quarter to pull away in the fourth.
“It’s a game of runs. They made a good run. They knocked down some shots,” Boozer said. “But we came back in the fourth quarter got the (big) lead back and took control of the game.”
Despite missing the bulk of their regular lineup, the Kings rallied after falling behind by 25 in the first half.
Beno Udrih’s three-point play with 1:26 left in the third got Sacramento within 83-73. The Kings got back within 11 early in the fourth quarter before the Jazz were able to pull away again at the end.
Boozer converted a three-point play with 7:22 left in the game to put the Jazz up 102-86 and start a 13-2 run that finally did in the Kings.
“It’s always tough when you go down that much early, but in the second half, we fought back. We cut it to 10,” Salmons said. “Anything can happen when we get it down to 10, but we just ran out of gas.”
Boozer scored 30 for the fourth time this season and has a double-double in all but one game so far this season. Ronnie Brewer scored 13 and Mehmet Okur added 12 as every starter but Deron Williams scored in double figures.
Martin hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Kings rallied and outscored the Jazz 34-24. … Giricek scored all 12 of his points in the second quarter, including a three-point play after getting fouled while making a rare dunk. … The Jazz closed the first quarter on a 13-3 run and led 35-18 after one period.