Justin Jackson’s 20 Points Leads Kings past Hawks, Game Overshadowed By Protest

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 30: Justin Jackson
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 30: Justin Jackson /

A career-high 20 points from rookie Justin Jackson led Sacramento past the visiting Hawks in a game delayed by protests. The Kings were able to get by the Hawks 105-90. All of this despite the national scrutiny surrounding the city in the wake of Sacramento police fatally shooting an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, on Sunday night.

On the court, the game started out very well for the Kings as they opened up on a 5-0-run. The Hawks were able to answer back, however, going on a 13-0-run en route to ending the first quarter with a 28-25 lead. Sacramento had six turnovers in the first and found themselves down by as much as seven in the quarter.

The Kings were able to fight back quickly though, reclaiming a 30-28 lead before Atlanta went on a mini-run of their own to go up 34-30. Sacramento outscored Atlanta 10-6 to close the half which ha them up 49-44. Skal Labissiere had seven points and seven rebounds at the half, with Justin Jackson chipping in nine points.

The third quarter was what decided the game. A massive 14-4 run gave Sacramento a 78-69 lead they would not relinquish. Sacramento led 80-71 after three with 20 points from J-Jax and four Kings players in double-figures pacing Sacramento.

The Hawks got to within seven in the fourth, but no closer. The Kings responded to everything Atlanta threw at them, eventually pulling out a 15-point win. Sacramento’s balanced scoring attack kept the Hawks off balance all night with 16 points each from Frank Mason III and Buddy Hield, 14 from Kosta Koufos, 20 from J-Jax, and 11 from Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Despite a very well deserved win, the conversation after the game revolved around the protests that closed the arena prior to tip-off, and rightfully so. In the middle of the game, the Sacramento Kings released the following statement.

"Tonight’s game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund."

The Kings pulled out a good win under somber circumstances. It will be interesting to see what players have to say in the following days. Or whether or not the league will release a statement of its own.