Shelvin Mack, Gordon Hayward lead Utah Jazz in rout of Sacramento Kings

By Rick Hurd, The Sports Xchange  |  March 30, 2017 at 6:58 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- During all the time he spent watching the action on the court instead of being a part of it in 2017, Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack occasionally wondered whether his fortunes would change. Every time he did, his coaches had a message for him.

The lack of playing time wasn't because he wasn't good enough.

"They just kept telling me to stay ready," he said. "Stay ready for the when the time comes."

The time arrived in Utah's 112-82 rout of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday at Golden 1 Center in a game marked by three lopsided runs.

Mack scored nine of his 14 points in the third quarter to help Utah hold off a big Sacramento rally.

His jumper and two defensive deflections kick-started a 20-4 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and gave Utah (46-29) its third straight win in Sacramento, the team's longest winning streak in that city since a seven-game run from 1994 to 1997.

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 20 points, and Rodney Hood tallied 18. The Jazz stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the fourth spot in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Clippers beat the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

Utah canned 53.2 percent of its shots and made 13 3-pointers. Sacramento (29-46) made only 2 of 15 3-point attempts and shot 45.3 percent overall.

"They hit shots, a lot of shots," Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said. "They hit a lot of threes. That broke the game wide open."

Getting big minutes because the Jazz played without guards George Hill and Raul Neto, Mack came off the bench to make 5 of 8 shots, grab four rebounds and deflect five passes. He played 28 1/2 minutes in his longest stint since Jan. 5. He played in only his second game since missing 11 with a sprained left ankle. Before that, coach Quin Snyder sat him out for seven straight games.

In all, it was only his eighth game since Jan. 13.

"What we've said is: Whoever plays has to try to defend. ... He had five defections, and that's what we want from guys off the bench," Snyder said. "They come in and they do that. The offense sometimes takes care of itself."

With an early 43-19 lead down to 68-65, Mack hit a floating jump shot, then helped to create a miss that led to Jeff Whithey's layup and ensuing free throws. He then found Joe Ingles, who found Hood for a 3-pointer to cap a 10-2 run that ended the period.

Utah then blitzed Sacramento with a 10-2 blast to start the fourth, with Mack contributing a layup during that run.

"He was great," Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. "He really brought a spark defensively. We're going to need everyone."

The Jazz blitzed the Kings with a 11-0 run to start the game and built a first-quarter lead of 43-19. But Sacramento closed the first half with a 24-7 run, then used a 10-2 run to close Utah's lead to 62-60 on Cauley-Stein's short jumper with 4:18 left in the third quarter.

"This is the NBA," Mack said. "You're not gonna blow anybody out in the first quarter."

Gobert finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds for Utah, Ingles added 12 points and Boris Diaw contributed 11.

Ben McLemore scored 22 points, including 17 in the second quarter to spark the Kings' comeback.

Darren Collison added 12 points, and Ty Lawson had 11. But fellow guard Buddy Hield managed just two points on 1-for-7 shooting.

NOTES:

-- Jazz C Rudy Gobert failed to block a shot, ending 42 consecutive games with one. Gobert's streak was the fourth longest in team history. Mark Eaton has the three longest, including a team-record 75-game run spanning the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons.

-- F Arron Afflalo is not with the Kings because of personal reasons, and the team has not said when he will return. C Kosta Koufos (rest), and G Garrett Temple (rest) sat out for Sacramento.

-- Jazz guards George Hill and Raul Neto missed the game, each with a strained groin. In Hill's absence, coach Quin Snyder started G Dante Exum, who played 23 scoreless minutes. The Jazz have used 23 starting lineups this season.

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