DID UTAH WIN? 11th Edition
Welcome to the Lazy Utahn’s recap of the most recent Utah Jazz game. Do you want to talk to your friends about the game, impress them with cool stats, and act like you watch all 82 games like a true die hard even if you didn’t catch the big game last night? We got you covered in this simplistic breakdown of each topic that may arise from the latest Utah Jazz showdown.
Did Utah win?
For the 4th time this year I can say triumphantly that Utah did win! In fact, they recorded their second double digit victory of the season by crunching the Portland Trail Blazers, 115-99.
For Utah not only did this mark the first time all season where consecutive wins occurred, these wins just so happened to correlate with the annual NBA in-season tournament group play.
The Jazz are now 2-0 in the tournament, sitting just behind the Lakers who have a slightly better point differential.
With two games left in the tournament it is a real possibility that Utah could end up as one of the 8 teams who end up in the knockout rounds. 6 group winners and two wildcards.
That’s actually really kind of cool, the Jazz playing well and in such a unique setting.
The In-season tournament was met with mixed reviews when it was first revealed, but it’s been a breath of fresh air into a normally stale regular season.
If you don’t believe that the specialized courts, unique jerseys, and group play haven’t amped up the intensity, just google “Rudy Gobert gets put in chokehold by Draymond Green.”
For Utah, an in-season tournament title could be the only championship they get close too for some time so you best enjoy the ride.
Did the Jazz look more motivated themselves?
Whether it’s the tournament working its magic, a date with two of the NBA’s most struggling franchises, or a byproduct of a new and improved starting lineup, the Jazz certainly have looked better.
I lean more in the direction of the opponents adding Utah’s recent success above all. But I believe all three things factor.
If you look at the starting lineup specifically, some things were pretty clear in this Portland game.
First of all. Keyonte George, keeps hooping.
In his third game as a starter, George put forth a career high 15 points next to his 7 assists.
Since becoming a starter, he has 27 assists and 5 turnovers. Is that good? It seems good.
The best part of George saving the Jazz in terms of moving the basketball and finding the open man, is more so about what he has done for his teammates more than himself.
No one proves this better than Jordan Clarkson. The two games Prior to George being named the starting point guard, Clarkson had a combined 17 points on 28 shots.
Ever since the lineup change this is the Clarkson we’ve seen:
Clarkson led all scorers with 30 points in last night’s win on 13/19 shooting. That 68.4 shooting percentage is a season high for JC. Only one turnover occurred off the hands of Clarkson and he added two steals to boot.
John Collins has now scored 14 points in 4 of the last 5 contest’s while adding a pivotal 10 boards. 6/16 shooting leaves a bit to be desired but Collins consistency is top notch and his impact is felt on a nightly basis. He hasn’t dominated a single thing yet, but has done everything just as good as anyone else.
With the absence of Walker Kessler, Collins has stepped into the role as Utah’s premier rebounding and paint protecting big.
Kelly Olynyk recorded a double off the bench with 12 points and 12 boards, half of which were offensive.
Collin Sexton was a team high + 14 with 13 points, 7 assists and 2 steals against his 2 turnovers.
Lauri Markkanen struggled with his shot going 8/18 and 2/9 from deep for his 21 points and 9 rebounds but was still a +9.
Ochai Agbaji also struggled in his third start of the year when it came to seeing the ball go through. Agbaji was 2/7, and didn’t hit a three in two tries. He did however secure 8 rebounds and have 2 steals.
Nothing like a solid showing all the way around. Did Portland have anybody give the defense fits?
Listen, Portland is not a good team, and to add insult to injury the Blazers were without Scoot Henderson (the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft), Malcolm Brogdon (reigning 6th man of the year), Anfernee Simons (averaged 21.1 points per game last year) and Robert Williams III.
A bad team was certainly worse off when they took on the Jazz. But in the NBA, someone always seems to step up and Portland had that in Jerami Grant.
Grant had 26 points with three deep balls and a 58.8 shot percentage. He didn’t do much of anything else but Portland was a much bigger threat to score when Grant was on the floor.
Deandre “domination” Ayton had 22 points and 10 rebounds while also shooting 58.8 percent.
For any other Blazer points were hard to come by. Only two others would score more than ten. Shaedon Sharpe had 17 points, but it took 16 shots to get there.
The decimated Trail Blazers were an offensive mess. They had spunk, they fought hard, they rallied back a time or two to make things tight but ultimately, they never possessed the guy to get this offense over the hump.
I feel like this leads into our stat of the night, right?
It absolutely does. I’ve spent many days critiquing how bad the Jazz defense has been for almost two years now, and for once they shut me up. It took a matchup against one of the most incompetent offensive lineups I’ve ever seen play basketball but they did it:
Utah forced 17 turnovers (ties a season high), and not a single starter for the Blazers had less than two turnovers.
Show me a clip to get me hyped for next game.
Here’s one of Sexton’s 7 assist, but with style:
Who’s next in our in-season tournament pursuits?
The Jazz will take on the Suns for the 2nd time this season, the first in the Delta Center. The game tips at 8:00 Utah time and is actually on ESPN this Friday the 17th.
The Suns are 4-6 on the season so far. Phoenix won the last time these teams faced off 126-104.