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Monday, Jan. 30, 2012
Jazz overthrow Kings, ruin Jimmer's return
SALT LAKE CITY — The stage was all set Saturday night for Jimmer Fredette, in a state where "Jimmermania" had taken hold.
Instead of draining what could have been a game-winning 3-pointer for Sacramento with 4.2 seconds left, the former Brigham Young star launched an air ball. The Utah Jazz hung on for a 96-93 win over the Kings to snap a two-game losing streak.
"I'm not going to say whether I got fouled or not," said Fredette, who ended up on the floor after the miss. "The ball didn't go in and we lost the game. It was a tough one."
Gordon Hayward, who scored a season-high 21 points for Utah (11-7), sank a free throw after being fouled away from the ball for the final margin.
While Hayward was all smiles after breaking out of his scoring slump (14 points combined in last three), Fredette continued to ride the rookie roller-coaster.
Last year's national player of the year finished with 14 points and was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. But he was just 5 of 13 overall, was swatted by Al Jefferson and rookie Enes Kanter, and had the ball stolen away by Earl Watson, Devin Harris and C.J. Miles, who had a game-high 20 points.
The crowd reaction was as mixed as Fredette's performance.
Once the game started, many booed every time he touched the ball. But when he hit his first 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the first, fans were on their feet. It was arguably the loudest cheer for an opposing player at the downtown Salt Lake City arena.
Late in the game, they chanted "We Want Jimmer," and he re-entered.
"They paid to see him play so they wanted him out there," said Tyreke Evans, who led Sacramento (6-14) with 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting. "He did a great job. He's getting better and better. I'm happy for him. Hopefully he can continue to play that way."
It wasn't the ending Fredette had envisioned.
"Hopefully I'll have a lot more (shots to win the game)," said Fredette. "Hopefully, I'll make a lot of those. But not everybody makes all the game-winning shots and we realize that. Everybody was encouraging and said it was a good look and just didn't go down. That happens."
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