Utah Jazz's Rudy 'Gobzilla' Gobert Devours Sacramento Kings In Overtime
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. – Be it right or be it wrong, good or bad, the Sacramento Kings are not going to roll over and play dead until the end of the season. Kings head coach Dave Joerger is still committed to putting quality basketball on the court.
With a core of veterans on the roster mixed in with young legs, Joerger reminded the press that "players don't like the 'T' word" to come out when people think they are trying to tank games for the sake of the NBA Draft this summer.
The Kings (25-37 overall, 13-19 G1C) lost to the Utah Jazz 110-109 in overtime on Sunday, but they played their hearts out for the fans. Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is called “Gobzilla” around the league, made a miraculous tip-in shot, missed by teammate George Hill, with 00.1 second left in OT to seal the deal.
Regardless, the Kings, who finished with a 1-4 record on a five-game homestand, mercifully battled to the end despite relinquishing a 16-point led. The Kings lost their fourth-straight game, but still have high hopes. The Kings’ youngsters, Joerger said, got a surreal experience in the loss to the Jazz.
“That was a playoff game for us,” Joerger said. “We played with playoff intensity. If a guy plays 12 minutes of that, that’s better than four summer league where he plays 38 minutes. This is where you are as a player and what you need to work on. That intensity of competition is a fantastic experience."
Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield is defended by Utah Jazz players at Golden 1 Center on March 5. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey.
Ty Lawson had 19 points, five assists, and four rebounds for the Kings Darren Collison added 18 points, five assists, and three rebounds while Arron Afflalo chipped with 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Seven players scored in double figures, which signals a concerted effort.
“It was good,” Afflalo said of his team performance. “I was extremely proud of my teammates. Everybody was engaged on both ends of the court. We played with a purpose. We kind had a conversation as a group (the past few days) about a re-commitment, so to speak, to ourselves at this point in the season. An opportunity to try make the make the playoffs is slim. So, we have to compete.”
The Utah Jazz (39-24 overall, 18-12 road) came into Golden 1 Center sitting on the fourth spot for the playoffs. Rodney Hood lead the Jazz with 28 points, four rebounds, and two steals. Gordon Hayward added 23 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Gobert commanded the paint with 16 points, 24 rebounds, and three blocked shots in 41 minutes. He was actually the story the whole game and he surprisingly closed the book on Sacramento, despite the Kings making 43 of 83 shots at 51.8 percent from the field.
“I was rolling because I thought he (Hill) was going to pull up into the shot,” Gobert described the last play of the game. “I didn’t know if I had time to get the rebound or not. When I saw the ball off on the side I just tipped it in.”
The officials for the game did review the last play to make sure the game clock did not expire before Gobert’s tip in. Upon review, the 7-foot-1 Frenchman timed it perfectly. It was a crushing blow to the Kings, but they accepted the outcome.
“It’s definitely a tough call and you never want to put the onus on the refs to say one basketball play is a win or loss,” Afflalo said. “Whether they are right or wrong or I am right or wrong, we had a chance to win the game beyond that one play.”
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
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T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.