What we learned as Kings beat Jazz, on verge of playoff berth


SACRAMENTO -- On the brink of snapping their historic 16-season NBA playoff drought, the Kings had a chance to punch their ticket to the postseason with a win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday at Golden 1 Center, combined with losses from the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. 

The Kings handled their business as they beat the Jazz 121-113, but did not receive the help they needed as the Philadelphia 76ers were unable to take down Phoenix, which means Sacramento will have to wait at least one more day to celebrate.  

Here are three takeaways from Sacramento's 45th win of the season.

Overcoming a loss

Without All-Star guard De'Aaron Fox, who was sidelined for Saturday's game out of precaution after sustaining a right hamstring injury in Friday's win over the Phoenix, the Kings needed to find a way to make up for the loss.

The gameplan remains relatively the same if everyone is able to play their role and protect the ball. Sacramento surrendered just eight turnovers to Utah's 15. 

Domantas Sabonis double-double? Check. Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray 3-point barrage? Check. Davion Mitchell wreaking havoc on defense? Also check. 

Not to mention the 18 points, five rebounds and four assists from Harrison Barnes. 

Threegan Murray

Coming into Saturday night's game, Murray needed 10 3-pointers to break Donovan Mitchell's rookie record of 187 triples set during his 2017-18 campaign with the Utah Jazz. 

With how the young Kings forward started the game, he was on-pace to break the record by halftime. Murray scored 14 points in the first quarter alone, shooting 4 of 5 from downtown and providing a spark out the gate. 

The Kings rookie finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and 6 of 12 from 3-point range. He now has 184 3-pointers this season.

Not only was there no postseason ticket punched, but Murray will have to wait at least another game to break Mitchell's record. 

Playing with his hair on fire

Literally and figuratively. Do I even need to explain who this is about? 

After scoring 29 points in the Kings' win over the Suns one night prior, Huerter once again led Sacramento in scoring, collecting 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and 2 of 9 from downtown.

RELATED: Brown challenging Huerter is paying off for Kings in big way

Without their best scorer, the Kings needed someone to step up and Huerter answered the call and put the team on his back for a second consecutive night. 

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