SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Utah center Rudy Gobert wasn’t so sure that his buzzer-beating tip-in off George Hill‘s miss at the end of overtime would be upheld, even as he watched replays of it on the giant scoreboard at Golden 1 Center.
With one official waving the bucket off for goaltending, Gobert figured the call could go either way.
Hill was much more optimistic and didn’t need to see the play again.
”I knew it wasn’t a goaltend because it was an airball,” Hill said. ”I knew that part was good.”
Gobert tipped in Hill’s missed jumper as time expired in overtime and the Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings 110-109 on Sunday.
After Willie Cauley-Stein made two free throws to give the Kings a 109-108 lead with 8.9 seconds remaining, Hill took an off-balance jumper from just outside of the key. Gobert, positioned underneath the hoop, reached up and tipped the ball in as the buzzer sounded – and Utah’s players began to celebrate.
But one official initially called goaltending on Gobert. After a meeting near midcourt, the referees went to the scorer’s table to review the play and counted the basket.
”I just saw it go left and I was like ‘OK, it’s a pass. I’ll just tip it in,”’ Gobert said. ”I looked up once, but whatever happens I know it’s going to be their decision. Sometimes they get it wrong, too, so you never know.”
The Jazz, who entered with a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place in the West, trailed by 16 in the first half and were down 89-79 with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter before making a late push to force overtime.
Utah missed its first two shots in the extra period and trailed 107-103 with 1:22 left.
After Joe Ingles made a 3-pointer for the Jazz, Cauley-Stein missed two free throws. Hill banked in a 6-footer to put Utah up 108-107, but missed two free throws of his own after that.
Then came Cauley-Stein’s two foul shots to put the Kings back in front – setting up Gobert’s winning tip-in.
”It would have been real deflating to lose this game, especially to fight back in the game and lose it,” Hood said. ”When we went to overtime, we just said, ‘Just go get this game.”’
Ty Lawson scored 19 points to lead Sacramento, which lost its fourth straight and fell to 1-4 since trading All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans two weeks ago.
”It’s definitely a tough call and you never want to put the onus on the refs to say one basketball play is a win or loss,” said Aaron Afflalo, who scored 17 points for the Kings. ”We had a chance to win the game beyond that one play.”
HOOD RISES UP
Hood had his best game of the season while making 10 of 17 shots and said he knew quickly his offense was on. ”I kind of knew in the first half,” Hood said. ”I got to the free throw line a couple of times and got to see it go in. I got some open shots from my teammates and they told me to keep shooting.”
Jazz: Hood scored his team’s first 10 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3s. … Gobert has at least one block in 32 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. … Hill was forced to take a timeout in the second quarter after getting poked in the eye by Lawson while dribbling near the baseline. A referee stood close by, but no foul was called.
Kings: Sacramento was held to 16 points in the fourth quarter. … Afflalo made his second consecutive start after missing three games with a sore left hamstring. … With the Kings playing the first of a back-to-back, Tyreke Evans was given the day off. Joerger said Evans will play in Denver on Monday. … The game marked the 2,500th for Kings broadcaster Gary Gerould, the only announcer the team has had since relocating from Kansas City in 1985.
Jazz: Return to Salt Lake City and host New Orleans on Monday. The Jazz haven’t defeated the Pelicans in Utah since Nov. 28, 2015.
Kings: Depart on a five-game road trip beginning Monday against the Nuggets. Sacramento has won five straight in the series, including three straight in Denver.