Kings-Jazz Preview

The return of DeMarcus Cousins from a brief absence wasn’t

enough to help the Sacramento Kings snap their lengthy skid.

The Kings would appear to have a better chance of ending their

woes Saturday night with a visit to the Utah Jazz, the owner of the

league’s worst record.

Cousins had 20 points and 11 rebounds Friday against the Los

Angeles Lakers for his eighth double-double after missing Tuesday’s

97-95 loss to Oklahoma City because of an ankle injury. Rookie

guard Ben McLemore also scored 20 points versus the Lakers –

setting a career high – but the Kings couldn’t hold on to a late

lead in a 106-100 defeat, their season-high sixth in a row. Four of

the defeats have been by a combined 11 points.

“This is just ugly,” point guard Greivis Vasquez said. “There’s

no other name. There’s no other adjective I could give to describe


The Kings (4-13) remained tied for the fewest wins in the NBA

with Utah (4-17) and Milwaukee.

The Jazz, who have won two of four at home after dropping five

of their first six in Salt Lake City, led early in the fourth

quarter against NBA-best Indiana on Wednesday before losing 95-86.

They didn’t put up much resistance against Western

Conference-leading Portland two nights later.

The Trail Blazers scored 39 points in the opening quarter and 40

in the third period en route to a 130-98 victory. With 16 points

off the bench, Alec Burks was the only Utah player to score more

than 10, and Gordon Hayward was the only starter in double


The Jazz trailed by as many as 42 and allowed the Trail Blazers

to make 17 of 23 attempts from 3-point range.

“It wasn’t a lack of effort,” Hayward said. “It just started to

snowball on us.”

The Jazz have alternated losses and wins in their last 10 games

against the Kings but won both home meetings last season. They were

beaten by 11 points in each of their other two games against

Sacramento in 2012-13.

Jason Thompson topped 20 points in each of last season’s final

two matchups with Utah but is averaging a career-low 6.9 this

season and has scored in double figures just five times.

Cousins averaged 12.8 points against the Jazz last season, his

second-fewest against any West opponent. He averaged 21.3 points

and 14.8 rebounds in four matchups against them in 2011-12.

Hayward sat out the final two matchups with a sprained right

shoulder after averaging 17.0 points in his previous seven.

Burks averaged 20.0 points and shot 56.5 percent in his two

games against Sacramento last season and has scored in double

figures in a career-high five straight games.

The Kings haven’t lost seven straight contests since April 3-13,