Kings top Jazz in battle of bottom feeders

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Sacramento Kings coach Mike Malone didn't look at Saturday's game against the Utah Jazz as a showdown between two four-team wins at the bottom of the NBA standings.
"We're not caught up in them being 4-and-whatever-they-are," Malone said. "This is an opportunity for us as the Sacramento Kings to come in here and try to get a win."
They found it.
Rookie Ben McLemore forced overtime with a game-tying 3-pointer and the Kings dominated overtime to beat the Jazz 112-102 at EnergySolutions Arena.
Center DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 28 points and reserve guard Isaiah Thomas had 26 as the Kings (5-13) snapped their six-game losing streak.
"I am just happy we got the win," Thomas said.
It was a much more positive outcome than Friday night when the Kings were outscored by 12 points in the fourth quarter of a 106-100 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. On Saturday, Sacramento had to overcome a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime.
"(It's) a huge character win. ... We've been in so many close games like this and we have been unable to pull them out," Malone said. "I'm hoping that a win like tonight maybe gives us a little bit of confidence the next time we're in that situation."
And that 4-and-whatever team?
Utah shooting guard Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 22 points and rookie point guard Trey Burke contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but the short-handed Jazz dropped their third straight and fell to 4-18.
"Tough loss," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, whose team was blown out 130-98 in Portland on Friday. "I felt the guys came back after (Friday) night and fought pretty hard. (We) made some mistakes down the stretch that cost (us) the game."
Utah played without two of its usual starters. Power forward Derrick Favors missed his first game of the season with a sore lower back and forward Marvin Williams (sore heel) was sidelined for a third game in a row.
The Jazz took a seemingly safe lead at 91-84 with 2:59 remaining when Hayward split two free throws. But Cousins scored six points in the final three minutes and McLemore drained a wide-open 3-pointer to tie it a 97 with 3.2 seconds remaining.
"It does (hurt). We had the game," Hayward said. "Must have been a communication error there on our last play. Give them credit. They knocked down a big-time three and just outplayed us in overtime. A tough one."
Utah had a chance to win it in regulation, but Burke's 13-foot floater missed badly.
Thomas then outscored the Jazz by himself in overtime, 6-5, leading the Kings to their first win since a 113-106 victory at Phoenix on Nov. 20.
McLemore, the Western Conference's November rookie of the month, finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Backup guard Alec Burks scored 19 points for the Jazz, who only shot 40.4 percent for the game. Forward Jeremy Evans, who fouled out early in overtime, had eight points and a season-high nine rebounds in his first start this season.
NOTES: The Kings recalled center 7-foot C Hamady Ndiaye from their D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns. The Senegalese player saw action in nine games earlier this season for Sacramento. ... Ndiaye had three fouls in a 1:48 stretch against Jazz C Andris Biedrins, who went 1 of 6 from the free-throw line after being intentionally hacked. ... Sacramento was one of nine teams that Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin played for during his 16-year playing career from 1985 to 2001. Kings coach Michael Malone empathizes with Corbin, whose team is off to one of its worst starts in franchise history. "Tyrone Corbin's a friend, and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and as a person," Malone said. "When you have your No. 1 pick out to start the season, that's never easy." ... Kings F Carl Landry and Jazz PG Diante Garrett both attended Milwaukee Vincent High School.

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