Jefferson and Jazz roll past Kings 122-101

For one night at least, the Utah Jazz bore no resemblance to a

team with the NBA’s worst record.

Richard Jefferson scored 20 points and the Jazz had five players

in double figures to halt a four-game skid, defeating the

Sacramento Kings 122-101 Wednesday night for their largest margin

of victory this season.

The Jazz (5-20), who had never led by more than 19 points this

season, never trailed and were ahead by 24 after three quarters and

stretched the lead to 28 in the fourth. They also established a

season-high with 35 assists and had a season-low six turnovers

against a Kings team playing without the three players it acquired

from Toronto in a seven-player trade on Monday.

”We’ve lost a lot of close games this year, especially early in

the season when we had as many as four players out,” said Utah’s

Gordon Hayward, who had 17 points. ”When we have our whole team

here it’s a different story. This was our best game this season for

sure.”

The return of Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams to the starting

lineup certainly helped. Favors (sore lower back) and Williams

(sore right heel) each missed Saturday’s bitter home loss when the

Kings rallied in the fourth quarter and won in overtime.

”That was in our minds right from the tip off. We owed those

guys,” Hayward said.

Favors had 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Utah,

which shot 54 percent and scored over 100 points for only the sixth

time this season. The Jazz were 13 of 23 from 3-point range and

looked good at times on the defensive end, blocking eight

shots.

Alec Burks had 15 points for Utah and rookie point guard Trey

Burke contributed 11 points and nine assists. Jeremy Evans also had

11 points and Williams added eight points and five assists.

”They didn’t feel us for 1 second on the floor tonight,” Kings

coach Michael Malone said. ”It’s disappointing, but the challenge

tomorrow is to get our new guys to practice and them get acclimated

to us as a team.”

The Kings new players – Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray –

can’t play until ex-King Greivis Vasquez passes his physical, which

is expected to happen Thursday.

”That’s huge. It’s difficult to be short-handed in this

league,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. ”They are skill guys who

are going to help them.”

DeMarcus Cousins had 17 of his 21 points in the second half and

added 11 rebounds for the Kings, who had their modest two-game

winning streak snapped. Cousins had two early fouls in the opening

quarter and surprisingly didn’t play again in the first half when

he logged just seven minutes.

Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and seven assists for Sacramento,

which has played 14 of its first 20 games at home this season,

going 4-10. Jimmer Fredette and Derrick Williams each had 13

points, while both Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson added 11.

Jefferson scored 13 points and Hayward had 11 in the third

quarter when Utah thoroughly outplayed the Kings. The Jazz hit six

3-pointers and outscored the Kings 38-26 to take a 96-72 lead going

into the fourth.

Jefferson connected on three 3-pointers in the third quarter,

the second giving Utah a 79-59 lead at the 6:25 mark.

”We were a little crisper (on offense),” Corbin said. ”It

always looks a lot better when the ball goes in the hole. Guys feed

off that.”

The Jazz ran their offense effectively in the opening half when

they shot 58 percent and had 19 assists. Favor and Enes Kantor both

had eight points for Utah, took a 58-46 lead into the break.

NOTES: Malone got a technical foul in the third quarter

following a no-call against Cousins. . The Jazz played the first

game in a stretch that has them on the road for seven of eight. . A

fan favorite, Fredette had nine of his season-high 13 points in the

fourth quarter. . Utah improved to 2-10 on the road.