SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — NBA games are usually full of chatter on the court. But some of the things the Sacramento Kings said to Joe Ingles made Donovan Mitchell take notice.
Ingles can talk trash with the best of them and it gets him going, but Mitchell turned his indignation into aggression for the Utah Jazz.
“Somebody said something to Joe, and I’m gonna be honest, Joe gave an answer that I hadn’t heard in a while,” Mitchell said without revealing details. “It just fired me up and when Joe gets angry, I get angry. … That’s really what turned the tide.”
Mitchell scored 14 of his season-high 42 points in the fourth quarter and the Jazz beat the Kings 128-112 on Saturday night, extending their franchise-record home winning streak to 24 games.
Mitchell tallied his 18th 30-point game this season, but it took him a while to heat up after a slow start. His ability to penetrate the lane on almost every possession powered a 19-4 run in the fourth quarter.
“The biggest thing was we just found a way to win,” Mitchell said. “It was ugly and I didn’t shoot the ball well. We made a few mistakes defensively and a bunch of mistakes offensively, as we were kind of stagnant.
“But the team that we want to be in July wins games like this.”
Mitchell has scored 41, 37 and 42 points in his last three games — numbers that haven’t been posted here since Karl Malone scored more than 35 in a trio of contests almost three decades ago.
Mitchell and Ingles wouldn’t divulge what made the trash talk in this game especially motivating, but Ingles said: “It lights something up in me that makes the game fun.”
Mike Conley had 26 points and Ingles added 20 as the Jazz scored 69 points in the second half to power past Sacramento.
“They were switching one through five on the pick-and-roll … and our ability to trust each other offensively and move the ball made the difference,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said of the second-half outburst.
De’Aaron Fox scored 30 points and Richaun Holmes 25 to lead the Kings, who have lost six in a row.
The final score belied the topsy-turvy nature of the game as the lead changed 17 times and the Kings often made the vaunted Jazz defense look porous and slow, especially the lightning-quick Fox and the active Holmes.
Harrison Barnes made a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 run and give Sacramento a 100-98 edge and his dunk gave the Kings their last lead at 105-104 with 6:05 remaining.
Moe Harkless, who reached double figures (11 points) for just the second time this season and had a season-high seven rebounds, drove for a layup to put the Kings up 84-74 midway through the third quarter.
Ingles, who had a running conversation with several Kings, emphatically shouted after each of his three 3s powered Utah’s 24-5 run that gave the Jazz a 98-89 lead early in the fourth period.
Once looking like playoff hopefuls, the Kings’ skid includes losses to Detroit, which has the worst record in the Eastern Conference and Minnesota with the worst mark in the Western Conference.
“We’re a team who’s still finding who we are,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said. “When things go well and we’re playing well, we’re a confident group and when we’ve hit some tough losing patches this year, it’s taken a while to get back.”
Barnes said earlier in the week that there was “no tomorrow” for the Kings and they played like it until they couldn’t match the explosive Jazz at the end.
WE’D LIKE SOME CALLS, TOO
After the game, Mitchell pulled Fox away from going after the officials. The Kings guard had been bothered throughout the second half and Mitchell, who said he has known Fox since high school, wanted to save him from a potential fine.
“It was god awful. … If you’re going to call something on one end, call it on the other end,” Fox said. “And if somebody is trying to talk to you, you can’t get your feelings (hurt) so quick to where it’s not even a hostile conversation and you’re saying, ‘Don’t talk to (me)’ and this and this and that and that. I mean, you’re coming down guessing on plays.”
Walton shared Fox’s exasperation in his postgame interview as he pointed to Mitchell’s 17 free throw attempts to Fox’s six.
“That’s part of the frustration,” Walton said. “De’Aaron Fox is playing the same way, right? … And if you tell me that Donovan attacks the rim any harder than De’Aaron Fox, I will strongly disagree with you.”
Kings: Marvin Bagley III, averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, has been out with a broken hand since March 15, but Walton said he has been working out and closing on a return without a firm date yet. … Holmes converted his first eight field goal attempts. … Fox got a technical during Utah’s big comeback run in the third quarter.
Jazz: Gobert got a technical after he was whistled for a foul on Holmes as the shot clock expired in the second quarter. … Royce O’Neale had a career-high 14 rebounds. … Jordan Clarkson, the league’s top scorer off the bench at 17.2 points a game, missed his second game with a sprained right ankle
Kings: Visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.
Jazz: Host the Washington Wizards on Monday.
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