SALT LAKE CITY — Center Derrick Favors and forwards Marvin Williams and Jeremy Evans all tallied double-doubles, and the Utah Jazz took advantage of a short-handed Sacramento Kings squad en route to earn a 106-99 victory Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
The outcome pushed the Jazz’s record to 16-29 and dropped the Kings to 15-29, marking the first time this season Utah hasn’t owned the worst record in the Western Conference.
The Jazz are 15-15 since beginning the season 1-14. The Kings, plagued by recent injuries to top players, lost their fourth game in a row.
Favors scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 15th double-double. Williams contributed 16 points and 11 boards, and Evans came off the bench to add 14 points and 10 boards as the Jazz matched their season high of two wins in a row.
The Kings used a peculiar strategy to stage a comeback in the fourth quarter after falling behind by as many as 20 points.
Backup center Enes Kanter hit a 15-foot jumper, slicing the Jazz’s lead to 97-81 with 4:20 remaining, when the Kings began fouling Utah players in an effort to rally.
That hack-a-Jazz-man strategy almost worked.
In the final 3:16, Utah only hit nine of 20 free throws. The Kings kept the pressure on the Jazz, pulling within 104-99 with 31 seconds remaining on a three-point play by rookie guard Ben McLemore.
Kings reserve Ray McCallum made a turnover and missed a 3-pointer after that, though, as Sacramento’s rally fell short.
The Kings began the game without their leading scorers, center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Rudy Gay, because of injuries, and they played the final quarter and a half without their No. 3 scorer. Starting point guard Isaiah Thomas didn’t return to action after going to the locker room in the third quarter with a stomach ailment.
Cousins didn’t make the trip to Salt Lake City from Sacramento. He missed the past three games after spraining his left ankle in Houston on Jan. 22.
Gay suffered a left Achilles injury in that same game against the Rockets. He tested his foot before Monday’s tipoff but didn’t dress.
Center Jason Thompson led the Kings with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while forward Derrick Williams chipped in 17 points and 15 boards.
Evans was poked in the eye by Kings guard Ben McLemore while driving to the basket in the second quarter. He missed both free throws and played for a couple of minutes before going to the training room to be evaluated. Evans returned to action in the second half, finishing with one of his best games this season.
NOTES: When Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan is honored by the Jazz on Friday night, the banner raised to the arena rafters will sport the number 1,223. That represents the wins the Hall of Fame coach earned in the regular season and playoffs during his 23 years with the Jazz. … Utah coach Tyrone Corbin, who replaced Sloan three years ago, joked that he isn’t sure how a jersey would look “with that many numbers on it.” Corbin described Sloan’s career, which included two NBA Finals trips and the third-most wins in NBA history, as being “a lot of work.” … Utah’s newest player, F Malcolm Thomas, did not dress after arriving in his new NBA home Sunday. The Jazz claimed the former San Diego State player off waivers Saturday after the San Antonio Spurs cut him Thursday. He said he was getting a pedicure with his mom when he received the call. … Sacramento won in its last visit to Utah, 112-102 in overtime on Dec. 7. … Kings G Jimmer Fredette, who played at nearby BYU, was booed and cheered every time he touched the ball.
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