Utah Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) loses the ball as Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) looks for it during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — 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.
“We saw it a lot last year,” said Kings forward Keegan Murray, who made four 3s and finished with 15 points. “We were able to go through that film and find different things that worked, and we just put those to work today, and we were able to see a lot of shots go in.”
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,” Utah coach Will 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.
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.
“It’s important just from a confidence standpoint to go out there and start the season the right way, especially getting a win on the road,” Barnes said. “In order to be a good team, you have to win on the road.”
Sacramento coach Mike Brown did not talk about his team’s win in his postgame remarks, choosing instead to express his sorrow over a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine that left at least 16 dead.
“It’s sad that we sit here and watch this happen time after time after time after time and nobody does anything about it,” Brown said. “It’s a sad day for our country. It’s a sad day in this world.”
Kings: Host Golden State on Friday. Sacramento went 1-3 in the season series against the Warriors last year.
Jazz: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. The Clippers have lost 11 straight regular season games in Utah.