De’Aaron Fox drove for a go-ahead layup with four-tenths of a second remaining, Lauri Markkanen’s subsequent three-pointer was overturned on review, and the Sacramento Kings moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a dramatic 117-115 victory over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night, January 3 (Wednesday, January 4, Manila time).
Domantas Sabonis chipped with 21 points to complement game highs in rebounds with 14 and assists with 8, helping the Kings – who have not won a Pacific Division title in 20 years – move a half-game up on the Los Angeles Clippers as the NBA season approaches its midpoint.
Markkanen had a team-high 28 points for the Jazz, but needed 3 more to prevent Utah from losing a fifth straight.
Seeking a third win in their last four games, the Kings trailed 98-96 following a Malik Beasley three-pointer with 6:47 left before Fox took charge, scoring 16 of Sacramento’s final 21 points.
The last 2 were the most important, as they came after Markkanen was fouled on a three-point attempt with 16.1 seconds left and cashed in all three free throws to produce a 115-115 tie.
After Fox’s clutch hoop put the Kings on top, the Jazz found Markkanen along the left sideline, just beyond the three-point line. He quickly turned and immediately fired up a shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy, only to be disallowed when video review showed the ball was still on his fingertips as time expired.
Fox finished with a game-high 37 points for Sacramento, which had led by as many as 14. He also found time for 6 assists and 2 blocks.
With Fox hitting 15 of his 22 field goal attempts, the Kings outshot the Jazz 53.5% to 43.2%.
Harrison Barnes added 19 points, while Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter chipped in 16 apiece for the Kings, who beat the Jazz, 126-125, in Sacramento on Friday.
Jordan Clarkson backed Markkanen with 24 points for Utah, while Mike Conley had 18 to go with a team-high 7 assists and 3 steals.
Beasley scored 16 points, and Jarred Vanderbilt scored 14 to go with a team-high 9 rebounds. – Rappler.com