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Basketball / Sports

Kings rally late but fall to Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY -- Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone conceded he hadn't pleased many Utah fans with his strategy to extend Monday night's game.

Missing their top three scorers, the Kings intentionally fouled bad free-throw shooters -- frequently -- to get the ball back.

The plan failed as the Kings lost their fourth consecutive game, 106-99 to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.

The defeat dropped Sacramento (15-29) a half-game behind Utah and the idle Los Angeles Lakers, both 16-29, for last place in the Western Conference.

The Kings had hoped to regain one starter from injury but ended up down three by the end of the night.

Rudy Gay was with the team but was a late scratch because of a strained left Achilles. DeMarcus Cousins remained in Sacramento to treat his sprained left ankle. In the third quarter, Isaiah Thomas left because of illness after vomiting at halftime. He was still receiving medical attention after the game.

Malone said he hopes Cousins, Gay and Thomas will be back for Wednesday's game against visiting Memphis.

Being short-handed didn't deter Malone from doing whatever he could to win. Utah fans groaned and booed as the Kings fouled to stretch out the game.

The Jazz shot 25 free throws in the fourth quarter and missed 13. The Kings pulled within 104-99 with 31.7 seconds to play. But they came no closer, committing a turnover with 25.8 seconds left to seal the outcome.

"It slows the game down, it stops the clock, and it gives us extra possessions," Malone said of fouling poor free-throw shooters. "We went from being completely out of the game to making it interesting."

Said Utah coach Ty Corbin: "We've got to make free throws. It worked for them, so they'll continue to do it."

The Kings trailed by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, a carryover from a lackluster third quarter in which they were outscored 31-20.

"You aren't going to win too many games like that, the way we started the third quarter," Derrick Williams said. "I think the fourth quarter we really competed. That's all you can do, especially when you've got three starters out. You just have to compete and keep playing hard."

Marvin Williams led the Jazz's third-quarter charge, scoring 12 of his 16 points and grabbing seven of his 11 rebounds. Utah also made four 3-pointers in the third.

"We didn't have the same energy we had to start the game," Jason Thompson said. "They started to go to a play that was making our defense shift a little bit and kept milking it, and we really couldn't adjust to it."

The score was 50-50 at halftime, and the Jazz outscored the Kings 20-10 to open the third.

"It's like something happened at halftime. I can't explain it," Malone said. "It's like we had no energy to start that third quarter, and then I think when Isaiah had to leave the game, some of our guys were like, 'Oh boy, what are we going to do now?' "

Thompson led the Kings with 19 points to go with 11 rebounds. Williams had 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, one short of his career high. Ben McLemore added 14 points off the bench.

Derrick Favors led Utah with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Enes Kanter added 16 points, and Jeremy Evans had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

(c)2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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