NBA regular season

Jordan Clarkson erupts for 45 points to lead Jazz past Kings

Jordan Clarkson erupts for 45 points to lead Jazz past Kings

SHOWTIME. Jazz fans cheer Jordan Clarkson after a career-high performance.

Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson breaks the all-time franchise record for bench scoring

Jordan Clarkson and De’Aaron Fox engaged in an entertaining scoring duel, combining for 86 points in the Utah Jazz’s 134-125 victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings in Salt Lake City Saturday night, March 12 (Sunday, March 13, Manila time).

Clarkson pumped in a career-high 45 points to lead Utah to its fourth win over the Kings this season. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year hit 15-of-21 shots, drained 7-of-13 three-pointers, and made all eight free-throw attempts.

Clarkson, whose previous career-best was 42 points, surpassed John Drew’s franchise record of 38 bench points.

Fox wasn’t quite as efficient as Clarkson, but still had a monster night by shooting 15-for-32 with five treys and dishing out 11 assists in the loss.

Harrison Barnes added 18 points and the Kings lost despite shooting 50.0% from the field.

Bojan Bogdanovic hit key buckets late in the game and finished with 26 points while Donovan Mitchell netted 25 points with 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

Hassan Whiteside scored 12 points, hauled in 21 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots in a starting role. Rudy Gobert, the backbone of the Jazz’s usually stingy defense, didn’t play because of a left foot strain.

The Jazz, who shot 55.8% overall, also played without point guard Mike Conley, who usually rests in one game of back-to-backs.

The Kings had a 17-11 lead when the Jazz went on a 10-2 run to go up by two. Sacramento kept its offensive fire stoked in the quarter, though, going ahead by seven and taking a 42-37 lead after an explosive opening period.

Fox finished with 20 points and 4 assists in the first quarter alone.

Utah went on a 9-0 run early in the second quarter to regain the lead at 45-44. Sacramento countered with eight straight. The Jazz responded by outscoring the Kings by 11 the rest of the half for a 71-67 halftime advantage.

Clarkson went into the break with 24 points, including a 14-point first quarter.

The Jazz took a 16-point lead after Clarkson hit three consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter, but Sacramento made things interesting by scoring 11 in a row, carving the Jazz lead down to five.

Clarkson and Bogdanovic each came up big in the final minutes to help the Jazz restore their double-digit lead. –

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