The Utah Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings 134-125 at Vivint Arena on Saturday night in another home bounce-back performance after losing on the road on Friday at San Antonio.

High notes

  • It was Jordan Clarkson night at Vivint Arena on Saturday night. Clarkson went off for a career-high 45 points in leading the Jazz to the important win after Friday’s loss. In the postgame TV interview, Clarkson called it a “must-win game.” Clarkson played with that urgency and was dynamite from the get-go. He enjoyed one of his best first halves of the season, and then helped the Jazz close things down late when things got dodgy.

He scored 24 points in the first half on 8 of 10 shooting, including six 3-pointers. Before the third quarter was even over, he had a season-high 30 points as he picked up the scoring slack on a night Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert were out. Clarkson then scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 45, eclipsing his previous career-high of 42.

The record-breaker came on a 3-pointer — his seventh of the night — with 1:55 remaining in the game. His 45 points were the most in franchise history for a player coming off the bench. Only a handful of players in NBA history have scored more points off the bench in a game, led by 51 from Jamal Crawford with Phoenix in 2019.

“Today in a lot of respects for JC was a culmination of just grinding through what for him early in the year he wasn’t making shots. He cares about winning, he cares about competing. I think over this last month or so he’s been very deliberate in his work. He’s a guy that’s in the gym. He puts the time in and he knows his game and tonight he had opportunities and it started again with his catch-and-shoot 3s.” — said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • On Friday night in San Antonio, the Jazz conceded 40 points in the fourth quarter in an embarrassing loss to the Spurs after blowing another fourth-quarter lead. Twenty-four hours later, the Jazz defense came out and looked just as soft, allowing 42 first-quarter points to the Kings.

That poor defensive first quarter was another gut punch, but the response is why the Jazz won on Saturday. They held the Kings to just 46 points over the next two quarters to take a 12-point lead into the fourth. Sacramento cut it to five midway through the quarter, but the Jazz didn’t wilt as in numerous other games this year.

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“We dug in. This was kind of a man-up-type game. That was good for us to feel.” — Snyder

  • Bojan Bogdanovic has enjoyed a great March since having the splint removed from his finger, and his timely 3-point shooting helped the Jazz avoid a potentially embarrassing collapse.

During a two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter as the Kings trimmed a 15-point lead down to single digits, Bogdanovic twice buried 3-pointers at key points. His most critical was at the 6:06 mark, draining a 3 that stopped an 11-0 run for the Kings. He finished the game 4 of 10 from 3 and 26 points.

Low notes

  • De’Aaron Fox torched the Jazz for 20 points in the first quarter, which included three 3-pointers as the Jazz defense continually went under the screen on pick and rolls, seemingly daring him to shoot the 3s. He did and put the Jazz under some early pressure. The Jazz tidied up the defense in the second quarter, holding him to just two points, although he did finish the night with 41.
  • There were two possessions coming out of a timeout with seven minutes remaining in which Donovan Mitchell turned the ball over in the 13-second span. The Kings flipped those turnovers into four quick points to put the lead to 111-106. Snyder chalked them up to miscommunication, but that type of miscommunication coming out of a timeout in the fourth quarter is a bit concerning.

“There were two possessions were Bojan and Donovan were disconnected coming out of a timeout and there was just a miscommunication and turned it over twice, and I thought the way we responded from that moment … I just felt like our response was to dig in and get to the next play, and that mindset is what won us the game.” — Snyder

Flat Notes

  • Hassan Whiteside only played 16 minutes in Friday’s loss at San Antonio, but Snyder said his energy level wasn’t good early against the Kings as he got the start with Rudy Gobert ruled out with a foot sprain. Whiteside eventually got going as he grabbed 21 rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Of his 21 rebounds, 17 were defensive as he helped the limit the Kings to just eight offensive rebounds.

“He didn’t have a lot of energy at the start of the game, but that makes it even better.” — Snyder

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