The Sacramento Kings will look to build off of their big victory Wednesday over the Los Angeles Lakers when they start and home-and- home series with the Utah Jazz.
The Kings had six players score double-figures Wednesday and used an 11-2 run in the third quarter to grab a double-digit lead. The Lakers fought back twice, but the Kings responded both times and ended a five-game losing streak.
"Every guy is for himself and every guy prepares in a different way, but at the end of our preparation we go out there as a team, we have to be one in every game," said Marcus Thornton, who led the way for the Kings on Wednesday with 23 points off the bench. "That's half of the battle. Next battle is going out there and playing."
The Kings, who rank 24th in both scoring and opponents scoring, rank fourth in the NBA in steals, fourth in forcing turnovers and 10th in 3-point shooting defense.
It's about trying to build consistency in a program that has enjoyed very little in recent history.
"We've got to just hope they don't have too much turkey now and go up there and go to sleep," Kings coach Keith Smart said of his team.
They begin a home-and-home, back-to-back series with the Jazz, winners of two in a row.
Utah played its second straight with its new starting lineup. Derrick Favors and Randy Foye are in, replacing Marvin Williams and Gordon Hayward, who has scored 15 points in both of his games as a sub.
This new starting group didn't get off to a great start Monday against the Houston Rockets. They fell down 7-0 and Favors picked up two quick fouls. Williams was into the game after about one minute.
"I didn't really think about it. I knew we were going to get it together," said Al Jefferson of the team's poor start. "We shot some good shots, they just didn't fall for us. We are in 'The Solutions' (EnergySolutions Arena). We don't panic when we are in 'The Solutions.'"
They didn't panic in "The Solutions."
The Jazz outscored the Rockets 32-18 in the second quarter and the game was all but over at that point. Houston star James Harden didn't play in the second half due to illness and the Jazz, who recorded 30 assists on 37 made baskets, cruised.
The two teams split last season's four games, but Utah is 8-2 in its last 10 at home. The Kings and Jazz will head to Sacramento for a rematch on Saturday night.