By the Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert is known for his defense. Against Sacramento, he went to the rim time and again on offense.
“Rudy was like a monster, so great on offense and, as usual, defensively protecting all us,” Bojan Bogdanovic said.
Gobert had a season-high 28 points and 15 rebounds and the Utah Jazz raced to a 16-point lead in the first quarter and routed the Sacramento Kings 123-101 on Saturday night.
Gobert got most of his points on dunks, while Bogdanovic had six 3-pointers on his way to 30 points. Donovan Mitchell contributed 22 for Utah.
“Rudy is such a threat and finishing in the paint, it opens it up and makes it easier for us,” Mitchell said.
De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points before fouling out, and Marvin Bagley added 17 for the Kings (15-27), who lost their fourth straight.
“They took us out of everything we wanted to do,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said. “We talk about wanting to get up a certain amount of 3s. We couldn’t get 3s because we couldn’t penetrate and make two players guard us.”
Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan were not with the Kings, and Walton declined to comment before the game amid reports that the players were to be traded to Portland in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two future second-round draft picks.
The Jazz have won 16 of 18 and had their 10-game winning streak snapped in overtime against New Orleans on Thursday. It didn’t take long to shake off the disappointment.
Utah started the game by converting on nine straight possessions and jumping to a 24-10 lead. The one time the Jazz missed a shot, Gobert gobbled up the rebound and dunked it. Nearly six minutes elapsed before Utah had a scoreless trip down the floor.
“I was trying to be aggressive and all the guys did a great job finding me … all I had to do is finish,” Gobert said.
Utah’s swift ball movement had the Sacramento defense spinning. In one 10-second sequence, Utah fired six quick passes that covered both sides of the court and broke the lane three times, ending with a wide-open corner 3-pointer from Mitchell.
“They have to chase people around for almost 24 seconds and it’s just demoralizing for them. It’s a huge play,” Gobert said.
Utah coach Quin Snyder beamed when recalling the possession.
“We have a group that plays for each other. When you do that, the basket gets bigger and everyone shoots with confidence because they feel they are supposed to. There is never a ‘my turn.’ It’s always ‘our turn,'” Snyder said.
The Kings shot 48.8%, but never got with single digits after Utah’s opening run.
Mike Conley, who missed 19 of the Utah’s last 20 games due to a left hamstring strain that was first suffered in the Jazz’s road loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 12, returned to a standing ovation and finished with three points and three assists in 15 minutes.
“Mike is a key piece of what we want to do. I know we didn’t want to rush him but it’s great to have him back,” Gobert said, noting one of his assists led to an easy dunk for him.
Bogdanovic was also back after nursing an ankle injury for the last six games, finishing with 11 points.
The Jazz beat the Kings by 32 early in the season and Sacramento hasn’t suffered a loss as large as this 22-point defeat since.
“Sometimes, it happens so fast that we just don’t communicate and I think we keep allowing that to happen we’re just going to get beat all game like we did tonight,” Bagley said.