SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Harrison Barnes scored 33 points to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 130-114 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Domantas Sabonis added 22 points and 12 rebounds and De’Aaron Fox chipped in 18 points for the Kings. Malik Monk dished out a team-high seven assists off the bench.
Sacramento buried Utah from the perimeter, knocking down 19 of 51 3-pointers. The Kings shot 46% from the field overall.
The Jazz played a zone trying to contain Sabonis around the basket. It led to plenty of open looks for Barnes and other shooters.
“Credit to them,” said Jazz head coach Will Hardy. “They shot the ball fantastic early in the game, and it kind of took the rhythm of the game to their favor. But I think overall, the team’s effort was good. It’s good to play your first real game and to feel real emotions in the game.”
Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 24 points and six assists. Lauri Markkanen tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds and John Collins finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds in his Utah debut.
The Jazz had won six straight season openers. Utah has now dropped four of its last five regular season games against Sacramento.
Perimeter shooting made all the difference both ways. The Jazz attempted 23 fewer 3-pointers than the Kings and knocked down 10 fewer outside baskets.
“That’s a moment where the math is against you,” Hardy said. “I think in general we really struggled in transition to get matched and to contain the ball. Our communication was not very sharp.”
Barnes knocked down his first eight shots — including four 3-pointers — and scored 27 points before halftime. The veteran forward went 10 of 11 from the field in the first half.
Barnes offered a preview of what lay ahead when he made four baskets to spark a 10-0 run that put Sacramento up 32-21 late in the first quarter. Utah missed five shots and committed four turnovers over a four-minute scoreless drought, opening a door for Barnes and the Kings.
Sacramento led by as many as 19, going ahead 69-50 after Barnes and Sabonis combined for seven baskets in a four-minute stretch of the second quarter.
“Defensively, we didn’t make it tough on them tonight,” Clarkson said.
“It’s a learning process for any team coming together as a group and learning how to win together as a group,” Hardy said. “You have to be able to stay level-headed in those moments when the game isn’t going your way.”
Utah cut the deficit to 74-65 early in the third quarter behind back-to-back layups from Talen Horton-Tucker and Walker Kessler but drew no closer.
Sacramento regained a double-digit lead on a 3-pointer by Fox and eventually led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter.
Utah next hosts the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. The Clippers have lost 11 straight regular season games in Utah.