SACRAMENTO KINGS (17-32)
at UTAH JAZZ (26-22)
Tip-off: Monday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Line: Utah -8, Total: 198.5
The Kings wrap up a long trip Monday night when they visit a Jazz team that has been tough to beat at home.
Sacramento is going through a nasty stretch, posting a 2-13-1 ATS (4-12 SU) record in the past 16 games. The team has scored 81, 80 and 81 points during their current three-game skid (SU and ATS) and lost those contests by 18, 9 and 39 points. The Jazz continue to dominate at home, going 17-5 SU (14-8 ATS), and they have also been rude hosts to Sacramento in the past six seasons, going 9-2 SU and scoring 106.5 PPG during this span. Utah SG Gordon Hayward (13.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG) will likely miss his fifth straight game due to a sprained right shoulder.
Can the Jazz win by double-digits on Monday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts are a collective 21-14 ATS (60%) over the past five days, with StatFox Dave 8-4 ATS (67%) and StatFox Scott 6-3 ATS (67%) over this stretch. Scott is now 54% ATS (71-61-1) for the season, while StatFox Brian is 51% ATS (73-71-3). For NBA Totals, the experts are an outstanding 28-12 (70%) in the past nine days with Brian going 9-3 (75%), Gary at 10-4 (71%), and Scott at 9-5 (64%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 59% (71-50) in Totals, while Gary is a solid 52% (61-57-4).
Although scoring has been a problem for the Kings lately, their other issues stem mostly from a horrible defense allowing a league-high 103.2 PPG on 46.4% FG (4th-worst in NBA). They are also the worst rebounding team in the NBA with a minus-4.1 RPG margin and have the second-fewest assists per game at 19.7 APG. C DeMarcus Cousins (17.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG) hasn't had a quality road trip (13.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG), but he did produce in New York on Saturday with 25 points (10-of-14 FG) and nine rebounds. In two games versus the Jazz this season, Cousins has just 14.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG. PG Tyreke Evans (15.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.2 APG) poured in 29 points (11-of-18 FG) in Friday's loss, but followed that up with just seven points (3-of-10 FG) at Madison Square Garden the next night. Evans has pestered the Jazz though with 23.0 PPG, 5.0 APG and 4.5 RPG in the two meetings this season. The team's other main ball-handler, PG Isaiah Thomas (1.5 PPG, 3.2 APG) has done a great job distributing the basketball on this road trip with 19 assists and just four turnovers in the past four games combined. But Thomas is in a major shooting slump at 12-of-41 FG (29%) and 3-of-14 threes in the past three contests. SG Marcus Thornton (11.4 PPG) and PF Jason Thompson (10.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG) are the team's other double-digit scorers. Thornton has scored just 7.0 PPG on this road trip due to a meager 18.4 MPG of playing time, including a paltry eight minutes in Saturday's defeat. Thompson has also had a horrible road trip, logging just 20.4 MPG and averaging 5.6 PPG (43% FG) and 4.2 RPG in the five games.
The Jazz have scored 100.5 PPG on 46% FG at home this season, but their defense has been poor in the past five games, allowing 103.2 PPG on 48.5% FG. They held the Blazers to 77 points (36.7% FG) in Utah on Friday, but surrendered 105 points (50.7% FG) to the same team in Portland the next night. That marks the seventh time in the past 11 games that a Jazz opponent has made more than half of its field-goal attempts. C Al Jefferson (17.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG) is coming off a weak 12-point, six-rebound game on Saturday, but has 21.5 PPG in his past two home games. PF Paul Millsap (14.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG) had a well-rounded game in Portland on Saturday with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He also has 20.0 PPG in his past two home games, but just 11.5 PPG on 40% FG in two meetings with the Kings this season. PG Randy Foye (11.7 PPG) has assumed a bigger scoring role with PG Mo Williams (12.9 PPG, 6.7 APG) injured. Foye has eight straight double-figure scoring games, averaging 14.9 PPG during this span, but has made just 20-of-55 FG (36%) in his past four contests. PF Derrick Favors (9.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG) has pulled down 9.5 RPG in his past two games and has averaged nearly a double-double in two meetings with the Kings this season with 9.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG.