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Jefferson helps Jazz halt four-game slide by beating Kings

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The Canadian Press
12/12/2013 1:45:49 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For one night at least, the Utah Jazz bore no resemblance to a team with the NBA's worst record.

Richard Jefferson scored 20 points and the Jazz had five players in double figures to halt a four-game skid, defeating the Sacramento Kings 122-101 Wednesday night for their largest margin of victory this season.

The Jazz (5-20), who had never led by more than 19 points this season, never trailed and were ahead by 24 after three quarters and stretched the lead to 28 in the fourth. They also established a season-high with 35 assists and had a season-low six turnovers against a Kings team playing without the three players it acquired from Toronto in a seven-player trade on Monday.

"We've lost a lot of close games this year, especially early in the season when we had as many as four players out," said Utah's Gordon Hayward, who had 17 points. "When we have our whole team here it's a different story. This was our best game this season for sure."

The return of Derrick Favours and Marvin Williams to the starting lineup certainly helped. Favours (sore lower back) and Williams (sore right heel) each missed Saturday's bitter home loss when the Kings rallied in the fourth quarter and won in overtime.

"That was in our minds right from the tip off. We owed those guys," Hayward said.

Favours had 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Utah, which shot 54 per cent and scored over 100 points for only the sixth time this season. The Jazz were 13 of 23 from 3-point range and looked good at times on the defensive end, blocking eight shots.

Alec Burks had 15 points for Utah and rookie point guard Trey Burke contributed 11 points and nine assists. Jeremy Evans also had 11 points and Williams added eight points and five assists.

"They didn't feel us for 1 second on the floor tonight," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "It's disappointing, but the challenge tomorrow is to get our new guys to practice and them get acclimated to us as a team."

The Kings new players -- Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray -- can't play until ex-King Greivis Vasquez passes his physical, which is expected to happen Thursday.

"That's huge. It's difficult to be short-handed in this league," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They are skill guys who are going to help them."

DeMarcus Cousins had 17 of his 21 points in the second half and added 11 rebounds for the Kings, who had their modest two-game winning streak snapped. Cousins had two early fouls in the opening quarter and surprisingly didn't play again in the first half when he logged just seven minutes.

Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and seven assists for Sacramento, which has played 14 of its first 20 games at home this season, going 4-10. Jimmer Fredette and Derrick Williams each had 13 points, while both Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson added 11.

Jefferson scored 13 points and Hayward had 11 in the third quarter when Utah thoroughly outplayed the Kings. The Jazz hit six 3-pointers and outscored the Kings 38-26 to take a 96-72 lead going into the fourth.

Jefferson connected on three 3-pointers in the third quarter, the second giving Utah a 79-59 lead at the 6:25 mark.

"We were a little crisper (on offence)," Corbin said. "It always looks a lot better when the ball goes in the hole. Guys feed off that."

The Jazz ran their offence effectively in the opening half when they shot 58 per cent and had 19 assists. Favor and Enes Kantor both had eight points for Utah, took a 58-46 lead into the break.

NOTES: Malone got a technical foul in the third quarter following a no-call against Cousins. . The Jazz played the first game in a stretch that has them on the road for seven of eight. . A fan favourite, Fredette had nine of his season-high 13 points in the fourth quarter. . Utah improved to 2-10 on the road.

Richard Jefferson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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