SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — De’Aaron Fox got back to attacking the rim. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic found their rhythm from the perimeter. And Luke Walton finally got his first victory with Sacramento.
With one all-inclusive performance, the Kings ended their worst start in nearly 30 years and shook off the label of being the NBA’s only remaining winless team.
Harrison Barnes scored on an offensive rebound with 2.9 seconds remaining after Nemanja Bjelica’s missed 3-pointer, and the Kings won their first game of the season, beating the Utah Jazz 102-101 on Friday night.
“It was probably the first time all season we put together a full game,” Barnes said. “Everyone down the line came in and contributed, and that was the team effort that we needed, the energy, the fight when they made runs, that we needed.”
It wasn’t all pretty.
Sacramento committed 17 turnovers, made only 12 of 17 free throws and was outscored 13-5 over the final 5 minutes.
But for a franchise that had playoff aspirations after going 39-43 a year ago, it was a definitive step forward.
“We were hungry tonight? Yes. Have we been hungry most games to start? Yes, and then it fades out,” Walton said. “But that’s the intensity that we have to have for an entire game. Hopefully we feel that, we build on it and we continue to go in the right direction.”
Fox scored 25 points, Hield had 18 and Bogdanovic added 14 to help the Kings (1-5).
Donovan Mitchell had 24 points for the Jazz (4-2). Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Mike Conley scored 19.
Mitchell’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer grazed the front of the rim.
“We knew it wasn’t the last minute that lost us the game. It was things we did in between the quarters,” Conley said. “Defensively we weren’t ourselves in different areas. They attacked us in pick and rolls, they were aggressive, and you can tell they were trying to get a win. They did everything necessary to do that. We didn’t come with the same energy.”
Nearly a week after getting blown out by the Jazz 113-81 in Salt Lake City, the Kings built an early lead, nearly gave it all away, then made a pair of big plays down the stretch to win.
Utah trailed 97-88 before scoring nine straight to tie the game on Mitchell’s 22-foot jumper. After Dewayne Dedmon made a 3-pointer for Sacramento, Mitchell fed Gobert for an alley-oop dunk, then scored on a layup to put the Jazz up 101-100 with 11.2 seconds left.
Bjelica, who made three 3s earlier in the game, missed from the left corner with the clock running down, but Harrison grabbed the rebound and scored the winner.
“Belly had a good look, a look that we all have a lot of confidence in (him) to knock that shot down,” Barnes said. “(I) found a good bounce and was able to put it in.”
It’s the first time in six games that Utah has allowed more than 100 points.
SEVEN AND OH NO
Sacramento had trouble taking care of the ball and committed seven turnovers in the first quarter. The upside? Utah failed to score a single point off the mistakes.
HOLDING NOTHING BACK
Walton used his final timeout with 6:36 left to play, a risky decision but one the Kings first-year coach was comfortable with. “It’s a philosophy of mine when other teams are going on a run, let’s see if the players can figure it out first,” Walton said. “Tonight I wasn’t going to let that happen. We’ve been slipping too much when other teams go on runs.”
Jazz: Ed Davis scored eight points in 21 minutes before leaving the game with a left lower leg contusion. . Jeff Green made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter. . Coach Quin Snyder was called for a technical when he angrily stormed onto the court after Jeff Green was called for an offensive foul in the third quarter.
Kings: Fox made a nice move to shake Conley and left the Utah guard standing at the 3-point line, but missed an open dunk and the ball ricocheted to the other end of the court.
Jazz: Play at the Clippers for the second time in five days on Sunday. Utah beat Los Angeles 110-96 on Wednesday.
Kings: Begin a three-game trip Sunday against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Sacramento has won three straight against New York.