Did Utah Win? 24th Edition: Jazz find a New York State of Mind
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.
So uh, did Utah win? After I have already embraced the tank?
Yes, its true. I spent all of last article coaxing and persuading readers to simply embrace the tank.
Enjoy the youth movement, watch for players developing and growing before your very eyes, and pay no mind to the score because the Jazz are likely to be on the wrong side of it, especially on the road.
Back in the Delta Center, the Jazz reemerged as a semi-competent basketball team and even went as far as winning a basketball game against a solid New York Knicks team.
The 117-113 win was much needed, as fans who have embraced the struggle really have only had the youth playing to look forward too, and a key part of that youth movement, Keyonte George, was injured in under 4 minutes of game time.
With George out, fans were expecting the worst, but the Jazz delivered in front of the home town faithful.
Mind you, the win was not inspiring or motivating but Utah made it fun. They played well on both sides of the ball and, in all reality, had to exert more focus and effort than they have had to put forth in a long time. That’s worth something in the grand scheme of it all.
The Jazz gave up a 22-9 New York run late in the 4th and got away with a couple missed open looks from the Knicks that would have tied the game up with under a minute to go, but we won’t focus on the near collapse of what was once a 17-point lead.
Instead, we rejoice for the Jazz have won for the second time in December, advancing to 8-16 on the year and will remain 12th in the West.
Wow, a win and a win without Keyonte? We must have had some dudes back.
We do indeed have some dudes back from injury.
Chief among them is Lauri Markkanen of course. Utah’s leading scorer returned in triumphant fashion by doing what he has done all season long before his 8-game absence. That is to score more than 20 points regardless of touches, looks or opportunities.
Markkanen was on a minute’s restriction in his return (25 minutes) and that wasn’t a strategic ploy. Lauri logged 24:37 minutes of run time, took 13 shots and had 23 points.
The well rested Markkanen helped Utah knock down 16 triples (tied for the 4th most threes made in a game this year) by drilling 4 of his 8 tries.
Markkanen got to the line 7 times, nailing 5 of those, and ripped down 8 rebounds with no turnovers.
The productivity of Markkanen was refreshing for Jazz nation and a brief reminder of how fun Utah can be if the right pieces are on the floor.
Unfortunately, he and Keyonte’s time was cut short as neither player has been able to share the floor much with one another yet this season. We will preach patience, because that should be worth the wait.
The oddity of the game was Markkanen’s disappearance in the 4th when New York was on the run. Lauri took two shots, one in the paint, one outside, and missed both.
Yes, he was on a restriction but his 6 minutes was the 4th most of any other Jazz player on the floor.
Those shots went to Talen Horton-Tucker who attempted 9 shots while playing the entirety of the 4th quarter. Usually, this would be a prime opportunity to ask “why in the world is THT the guy in crunch time” but Horton-Tucker actually hit his one three ball, and went 6/9 for 13 points.
The 4th quarter 2-0 turnover to assist ratio could be done without, but he scored when Utah needed someone to score. THT finished with 15 points on 50 percent shooting with three assist and 4 boards.
Collin Sexton played within himself and posted one his best games in Utah. Sexton went 10/18 from the field, 3/8 from deep and had 7 assists for 26 points.
For Sexton, that’s his season high in points scored while tying his season high in assists. Sexton may be starting to develop a rhythm and the Jazz are all the better for it.
Simone Fontecchio had an off-shooting night but still found a way to record 15 points, including three triples and 4 free throws.
Kelly Olynyk got the start despite Kessler returning from his one game absence and finally attempted more than three shots. He was 3/9 for 9 points but above all, Olynyk secured 10 rebounds to lead the glass cleaning effort and dished 8 assists to lead the ball movement without George.
Kelly was two assist and a single point away from snapping Utah’s triple double streak of 15 years. The streak continues.
Walker Kessler got 23 minutes off the bench with a 9-point, 8 rebound game with 3 swats.
Kris Dunn will replace Taylor Hendricks as the next Jazz man who will deserve more minutes with his perfect shooting night for 10 points and 7 assists.
Speaking of Hendrick’s, His 5 point, 4 rebound, and 2 assist night might not seem like much but Hendricks defense was otherworldly. +/- is a terrible way to truly measure a player, but we are going to do it anyway to demonstrate how impactful he actually was.
Hendricks was a +25 on the night, which in a 4-point game is kind of a big deal. He and Dunn on the floor made Utah appear as if they knew how to play defense. Even when not scoring, Hendricks found a multitude of ways to justify why he was out there, and for a rookie that’s all you can ask for.
Do the Jazz have any regrets by not acquiring any of those Knicks players in the Mitchell trade?
Doesn’t look like it.
Jalen Brunson did Tom Thibodeau’s bidding by logging 39 minutes of run time and was hounded by the Jazz defensively. Brunson was 6/19, went 0/6 from deep and missed 5 crucial free throws. He led the Knicks in assists (8) and turnovers (3).
Julius Randle wasn’t spared any minutes either as he led all scorers with 32 points on 23 shots. Randle snagged 12 boards and had 6 assists to be the only Knick to simply score whenever he wanted.
Donte DiVincenzo didn’t do much in the first three quarters but when New York rallied, Donte was a driving force with 14 4th quarter points behind 4 made triples.
What’s the cool play you want to show me?
THT? More like THWeeeee. Get it? because of how fun that was?
Stop it, Give me that winning stat!
Literally, a winning stat.
So, can Utah start their third winning streak of the season?
Bad news; Utah has to play the second night of a back-to-back on the road.
Good news: it’s against the 6-16 Portland Trailblazers.
Bad news: Utah lost to Portland already this year for one of those six wins.
Good news: Utah has won twice against Portland this season for 2 of their 8 wins.
This game tips off at 8:00 Mountain time.