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The Sacramento Kings’s defense couldn’t stop Donovan Mitchell’s combination of physical strength and speed, as the Rookie of the Year candidate made scoring 27 look easy in the Utah’s Jazz’s road victory. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Story of the Game

This was a contest the Utah Jazz had to win and, if they were honest and wouldn’t be fined for it, the Sacramento Kings would admit they wanted to lose. So Utah’s cruise to a 98 – 91 victory on the tail end of a back-to-back is no surprise.

This was an easy game for the Jazz both competitively and in terms of energy, which the players likely appreciate after winning a testy game with Minnesota yesterday in Salt Lake. Neither team mustered much energy for most of the night, though Utah’s superior talent and training was obvious. It never felt the Jazz were in a position to lose this game; moreover, it never felt the Kings might push things to a position where the Jazz had any realistic chance to lose.

It’s not that Sacramento played poorly exactly. Their young talent gave Kings fans something to cheer for, with De’Aaron Fox scoring 17 on some greased lightning plays, Bogdon Bogdonovic scoring 15 with his NBA-ready game, and even Skal Labissiere having perhaps his best NBA game with 12 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and more energy than anyone else in the building. In the few moments the Kings got the game’s tempo up, such as to close the second and third quarters, they went on mini runs of 16 to seven and later seven to zero.

Even so Sacramento was no match for Utah’s defense even on cruise control. The Kings shot 38 percent overall and only 30 percent from three, never managing to punish Utah for its own mediocre offensive night: 42 percent shooting from the field, 34 percent from three, and an ugly...

SALT LAKE CITY — We talkin’ ‘bout practice. Yeah, practice.

With three days off after Monday’s home loss to Houston, the Utah Jazz were able to get in plenty of practice in between games.

They watched, listened and learned from their mistakes then executed against the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday to win a chippy, 116-108 game, despite turning the ball over 19 times.

Tempers flared, guys were tossed and the fans went wild in Vivint Arena with the home team coming out on time.

Since the All-Star break, the Jazz sit amongst the league leaders in turnovers, but desperately needed a victory to remain in the Western Conference playoff hunt.

Utah improved to 2-2 to start the second half of the season but remain in 10th place on the standings.

Rudy Gobert led the way with a season-high 26 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, while rookie Donovan Mitchell posted nine of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to go along with four rebounds. Mitchell’s late 3-pointer with 50.8 ticks remaining gave the Jazz a comfortable 12-point edge and propelled them to close out the game in front of a national audience on ESPN.

“We just kept playing,” Gobert said. “This is a good team.”

The Timberwolves were playing without injured All-Star Jimmy Butler for the fourth straight game after recently undergoing meniscus surgery on his right knee. He remains out indefinitely, but was engaged in the heated action, even tweeting out for the first time in a while during the game as sparks started to fly.

“haven’t used Twitter in years,” Butler wrote. “But yeah Jeff that’s what I like to see. Rubio getting up quick for no reason.”

“Jae get away from my coach,” he added. “You don’t want no smoke...
Donovan Mitchell was in his hotel room in Utah when everything changed. The Jazz rookie was resting before the next day's summer league game, his mother, Nicole, and younger sister, Jordan, nearby. He had already started turning heads, the latest showing a 23-point performance against San ...

Full Story from USA Today...

If garnering NBA Rookie of the Month honors is an indication of how voting for Rookie of the Year will go, Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Philadelphia's Ben Simmons are indeed the frontrunners for the award.

The pair received the honors for the month of February on Thursday for the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. It is the third time each has won it this season, with it being the third straight month for Mitchell (Boston's Jayson Tatum won it for the East in December. Los Angeles forward and former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma did for the West in November).

In February, Mitchell averaged 21.4 points (tops among all rookies), 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes per game. He had seven games of 20 or more points and on Feb. 2 became the first rookie since Blake Griffin in the 2010-2011 campaign to score 40 twice in a season.

For the year, the Louisville product leads rookies in scoring at 19.6 points per game and is also averaging 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. His 137 3-pointers is the most by a first-year player through their first 60 games in NBA history.

Mitchell is the second player in franchise history to win Rookie of the Month honors three times in a season, as Trey Burke also did so during the 2013-2014 campaign.

On the season, Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.

Full Story from the Deseret News...

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s highly unlikely that Utah Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha will be returning to the lineup this season.

The injured forward is technically listed as being out indefinitely, but after suffering a torn MCL in his right knee he’s very likely to sit for the remainder of the year.

Sefolosha, 33, isn’t allowing himself to be defeated by the injury, though.

The league veteran was spotted during Wednesday’s practice in a thick black knee brace, his customary Nike Air Max 90 sneakers and a huge smile on his face.

He even shot free throws, without crutches, on the far end of the practice facility with teammate Derrick Favors and Jazz assistants Antonio Lang and DeSagana Diop.

There is still no timetable on Sefolosha’s return.

He originally underwent surgery on Jan. 17 with team physician Dr. Travis Maak, but he's making progress. He now spends most of his time in the training room getting treatment, but it was good to have him around.

“Some of the things we miss about Thabo are the things that happen between plays,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “His voice, his experience. He added a lot to our team from a leadership standpoint, so to the extent that he’s doing better, he’s here and having his support and leadership there’s only so much you can do when you’re not playing but his energy is really good.”


Before going down, Sefolosha was averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds while...