Did Utah win? 25th Edition: Jazz Blaze their Own Trail
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? On the road of all places?
What a crazy turn of events. The Jazz beat the Knicks at home, which although shocking, was understandable as the Jazz were back home and had welcomed Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler back to the rotation.
After that game Utah boarded a plane and landed in Rip City early in the AM.
A tight game the night prior, a late departure, and one of the worst road records in the NBA had the Portland Trail Blazers favored in their first ever game this season:
On top of all this, Utah’s injury report ballooned after the Knicks game.
No Markkanen, no George, no Collins, no Clarkson. That’s 4 of Utah’s typical 5 starters.
This was a blatant scheduled loss, even to a dreadful Portland team and for one of the first time’s all year, the Jazz decided they were going to win a game they weren’t supposed to win.
Consecutive wins?! That’s only the third time this season. Is Utah onto something?
Don’t get too hyped. It’s easy to get excited especially when one is not accustomed to their favorite sports team pulling off multiple wins.
Portland is 6-17 and have lost 5 straight including last night.
But I’m not here to limit what happened, its still an impressive Jazz win, with some impressive Jazz performances from a roster that was asked to step up. The play and effort are certainly an upward trend that fans hope is sustainable.
First of all, Collin Sexton. We mentioned after the New York game that Sexton had found a groove and in his second consecutive game as a starter he proved that to be true.
Sexton was a +17 with a game high 27 points. Sexton has always been a capable scorer but the 65 percent shooting efficiency and 4-2 assist to turnover ratio are the most impressive part.
Sexton is letting the game come to him, he’s forcing less and finding more. The effort and attention to detail that he relies on defensively is beginning to trickle into his offensive capabilities. Still bold, still aggressive, but more selective.
Performances like this make it difficult for the Jazz front office as they determine whether to move him for draft capital or use him as a building block as the intangibles and skillset seems in place. If you add this type of consistency, Jazz fans will want Sexton around for a long time.
Sexton wasn’t the only Jazz man to go for more than 20 points during this short-handed night. Simone Fontecchio literally could not miss from outside, which is saying a lot because he took 5 three-pointers. Simone went 7/8 on the night and honestly looks like a hit.
Simone has gone from a “why is he on the roster” to “why is he getting minutes” to “why is he not getting more minutes’ to a sneaky Jazz fan favorite. Fontecchio has never grumbled, complained or made ill of his situation and all that time spent waiting, learning and growing is officially paying off for the Italian stallion.
For a team that has had its effort criticized in the past, Fontecchio has rarely been the one to blame.
Whether his future is in the Wasatch mountains or elsewhere its certainly on the NBA level.
Talen Horton-Tucker is a beautifully frustrating experience. He scored 23 points which is sweet. He did it on 19 shots while going 0/6 from deep. Not sweet. He had 4 steals. That’s cool. He had 3 turnovers. Less cool. He has a SportsCenter top ten moment at least once every other game. He forces shots that should never be forced.
THT did get to the stripe six times, more than any other Jazz player and converted 5 of them.
Walker Kessler’s return to the starting lineup was a beauty. Kessler was on triple double watch with 10 points, 10 rebounds and…. 7 blocked shots. He went 5/6 and his one miss was a three ball try. Kessler had approximately zero fouls.
When your blocking 7 shots, you would imagine there would be at least one foul right? His 4 assists also tied for third best on the team.
Kelly Olynyk got the start next to Walker and struggled to score going 1/6 for 2 points, but his value often lies beyond scoring. Olynyk had 10 rebounds and 7 assist, both team highs in his 24 minutes. Being a +24 with two points demonstrates that your worth having on the floor regardless of how many points your getting up.
Some playoff contender is going to really enjoy Kelly Olynyk here soon.
Now for the youth movement. This is typically where we gush about Keyonte George but with his serious, now not so serious injury, George stayed in Salt Lake as all attention shifted to Taylor Hendricks. Hendricks is only logging minutes in his sixth NBA game and has delivered so far.
Taylor had 10 points on a shoddy shooting night, going 4/9, but nailed two triples. He also chipped in 7 boards with two turnovers. There is till much to be learned and consistency to be found, but you have to be giddy with excitement when you watch some of the things he does.
The defense is always present, and with Hendricks that defense often leads into offensive opportunities for both he and his teammates.
Ochai Agbaji also put on a show in his 26 minutes of go time. Agbaji is inconsistent from a statistical standpoint and fluctuates between young cornerstone and developmental piece with some upside.
Last night’s 16 points were good for Ochai’s second highest scoring game of the season and will be the 5th time in 25 games where he has hit double digits. He was 7/12 from the field and 2/6 from deep.
Kris Dunn had 6 points and 5 assists. Omer Yurtseven put up 4 points and 4 rebounds.
I heard Scoot went off for the Blazers?
Its true. Scoot Henderson had 23 points off the Blazers bench (although his 35 minutes was the most on the team by 8).
He also took 21 shots and had 4 turnovers.
Nitpicking aside, there were some great flashes from Scoot and on this Blazers team he should get all those shots. Scoot also had 10 assists, more than anyone else in that game.
The flashes and experience are worth the growing pains without a doubt.
Deandre Ayton had 14 points paired with 9 rebounds on 4 turnovers and 13 shots.
Toumani Camara went 7/10 for 18 points.
Duop Reath scored 15 and Jabari Walker dealt a 13-point 9 rebound night.
That should let you know all you need to know about Portland.
This is about Utah man, show me that sweet Jazz highlight.
See. Sportscenter worthy moment from THT again.
Hook me up with that statistic.
Can we win three games in a row for the first time this season?
The Jazz will certainly have an uphill climb, even with potentially having Markkanen and Collins returning.
On Saturday, December 16th they get to travel to Sac-town to take on the Kings.
The Kings are 14-9 this year and 8-3 at home.
Utah was blasted in the season opener by Sacramento and is 0-1 VS the Kings this year.
Tip off is slated for 8:00 mountain time.