In their first meeting of the season, the Utah Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings, despite a 30-point effort by De'Aaron Fox. Donovan Mitchell dropped 42 points in that game, while Rudy Gobert and Royce O'Neale combined for 25 rebounds on the night.
Fixture: Utah Jazz vs Sacramento Kings | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021; 10:00 PM ET (Thursday, April 29th; 7:30 AM IST).
Venue: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA.
Sacramento Kings Preview
The Sacramento Kings snapped their nine-game losing streak against the Dallas Mavericks on April 19th and have won three of their last five games since then.
Their leading scorer and floor general, De'Aaron Fox has been absent for their last two games, though. He is expected to be out for at least two weeks due to the league's health and safety protocols.
Several Sacramento Kings players have gotten more shot attempts in the absence of Fox. Rookie Tyrese Haliburton is shining in the point guard spot, while Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes have stepped up their games as well.
Hield is one of the most prolific three-point shooters in the league and has remarkably made more threes than the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry since February 28th.
However, the Sacramento Kings are six wins behind the 10th seed and face a fairly tough schedule for the remainder of the season. Realistically, they need to win at least eight of their remaining 11 games to even make the play-in seed, which looks like a tough proposition at the moment.
Key Player - Tyrese Haliburton
Rookie Tyrese Haliburton has been a rare silver lining in what has been a rather dismal Sacramento Kings season.
Haliburton has featured in several 'Rookie of the Year' power rankings this year, and many analysts have called him a 'veteran in a rookie's body'. He is calm and poised during tough situations and tends to shine in fourth quarters.
Tyrese Haliburton had 14 points and ten assists in his second straight start in his team's last game.
Sacramento Kings Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Tyrese Haliburton | Shooting Guard - Buddy Hield | Small Forward - Harrison Barnes | Power Forward - Maurice Harkless | Center - Richaun Holmes.
Utah Jazz Preview
The Utah Jazz are coming off two debilitating losses to the bottom-placed Minnesota Timberwolves.
The absence of Donovan Mitchell on the floor has severely depleted their offensive efficacy. The Utah Jazz's offensive rating tanks by 3.7 when Mitchell is off the floor; they have now lost three of their last five games in his absence.
Owing to their defensive collapses this season, the Utah Jazz could struggle to make a deep postseason run, especially considering the lack of playoff experience in their roster.
The Utah Jazz are just one win away from the LA Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. But they risk falling out of the top seed if Mitchell doesn't return soon enough.
Meanwhile, as the regular season winds down, the race for the individual season awards has intensified. Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson are frontrunners for the 'Defensive Player of the Year' and 'Sixth Man of the Year' awards, respectively.
Key Player - Jordan Clarkson
'Sixth Man of the Year' frontrunner Jordan Clarkson has stepped up in the absence of Donovan Mitchell.
Clarkson has been the team's top scorer in three of their last five games in Mitchell's absence. He plays nearly 26 minutes off the bench and attempts 15-18 shots in a game.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Mike Conley | Shooting Guard - Joe Ingles | Small Forward - Bojan Bogdanovic | Power Forward - Royce O'Neale | Center - Rudy Gobert.
Jazz vs Kings Match Prediction
The Utah Jazz are the clear favorites to win this game. The Sacramento Kings aren't renowned for their defense, and they may not hold up against a high-volume shooting and spacing team like the Jazz.
However, the Sacramento Kings are coming off a victory and might carry that momentum into this game, while the Utah Jazz are reeling from two devastating losses.
Where to watch the Jazz vs Kings game?
The Utah Jazz vs Sacramento Kings game will be locally televised on NBC Sports California and AT&T SportsNet - Rocky Mountains. The match can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.