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Jazz-Kings Preview

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The second meeting this week between the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings could be the last one ever.

In search of a bounce-back performance Saturday night, the Jazz are looking to again capitalize on the lowly Kings, who now seem more likely to move north on a map than in the standings.

Utah (28-23) has taken two of three season meetings versus Sacramento (17-33), including Monday's 98-91 overtime victory at home.

This matchup may not only conclude the season series, but the all-time one.

The Kings seemed to move another step closer to relocating to Seattle and becoming the SuperSonics on Wednesday. NBA Commissioner David Stern said the ownership group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, which recently reached an agreement to purchase 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof family for $525 million, has formally filed for relocation with the league.

Stern called the group "very strong," and said the appropriate committees have been convened to look over the proposed sale and potential move for next season.

For now, the Kings open a two-game homestand looking to win for just the second time in 10 games. They've averaged 104.8 points while winning three of the past four when hosting Utah, including a 108-97 victory Nov. 24.

Unlike Sacramento, the Jazz - who moved to Salt Lake City from New Orleans nearly 34 years ago - have been active sine the most recent matchup earlier this week. They followed up that victory with Wednesday's 100-86 win over Milwaukee, but concluded their homestand 2-1 by falling 93-89 to Chicago on Friday.

Al Jefferson can't be blamed for the loss since he had a season-high 32 points with 13 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. The big man had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the last matchup with the Kings.

''If he's making his shot like that he's unstoppable,'' Jazz guard Randy Foye said. ''You already know what he can do with his back to the basket.''

Jefferson is averaging 15.8 points and 7.5 rebounds over his past four visits to Sacramento.

Foye had 20 points while hitting 3 of 5 from behind the arc against the Kings on Monday, and he's averaging 18.4 while sinking 48.9 percent from long range over his last seven games.

If the Kings are going to avoid matching their season-high five-game losing streak from Nov. 9-18, they'll probably need DeMarcus Cousins on the court.

The mercurial center was ejected before halftime Monday, getting his second technical after using an expletive while arguing with officials about the first foul. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds, well below his team-leading averages of 17.2 and 10.0.

"I shouldn't have said that," Cousins said. "That's about it."

Cousins is averaging 12.7 points and 7.3 boards against the Jazz this season. He had 20.4 points and 13.6 rebounds per game over the previous eight matchups.

Jason Thompson picked up the slack in Cousins' absence Monday, scoring a season-high 23 with 10 boards after averaging 6.2 points his prior 14 games.

Tyreke Evans has averaged 22.7 points in 12 career meetings with Utah, totaling 47 over the past two.

Tagged: Kings, Jazz, Al Jefferson, DeMarcus Cousins

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