DID UTAH WIN? 9th 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?
Ah, the question of the day. No, sadly Utah did not win as they dropped their 4th straight game of the season in Indiana 134-118. The Jazz are still winless on the road and 0-5 on the season away from home.
Utah’s 2-7 record lands them 14th in the Western Conference and 3rd in the tankathon draft lottery simulator, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Same old song and dance then?
Not too dissimilar to losses the Jazz have suffered this season, there were some small differences in Indiana that you can fixate on.
Walker Kessler is officially out for at least two weeks with a UCL sprain in his left elbow that has been plaguing him since week one. Because Kessler has to rest, Coach Hardy has to change his lineup.
We witnessed a brand spanking new starting lineup, something Jazz fans have been clamoring for since game three of this season.
Ochai Agbaji got his first start of the year and the 23rd of his young career. Agbaji would slot in next to Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Markkanen and John Collins.
That was the adjustment made for the injured Kessler, which was a fun wrinkle, but we all know Jazz fans wanted to see a change in the backcourt.
In one fell swoop, Hardy made that change as well. On his 20th birthday, Keyonte George received his first start as a rookie.
The new lineup was refreshing if not without its flaws, but still a much-needed fresh coat of paint on a dull canvas.
Utah played tough for 3 of the 4 quarters against a Pacers team who is putting up more points than anybody else around at 126 points per game.
Staying competitive 3 of the 4 quarters is a small victory for a Jazz team who typically fails to show up for at least half. Baby steps.
Utah started down 7-0 and the ripped off a 25-9 run displaying some of the best basketball of the season from Utah. From there it went back and forth.
The Pacers may have crossed the 100-point barrier at the end of the third, but Utah only sat three behind giving fans hope.
Utah would close the game with a 20-point whimper of a 4th while giving up 33. But at least it was watchable this time around.
Speaking of giving up 33, looks like another defensive meltdown, right?
No ones arguing with you here. Utah’s defense was bad coming into this matchup and somehow got worse after it.
I’ve been talking about it all year, but take it from ESPN’s Bobby Marks:
It likely isn’t going to get better with Walker Kessler in street clothes for 14 days if not more.
With no hope defensively for this Jazz team, Coach Hardy will have to make scoring and speed the top aspect of Jazz basketball, and he did so with that fancy new starting lineup.
Ok, so we made an adjustment, who did it benefit?
It certainly seemed to benefit Jordan Clarkson who dropped 33 points after having 11 total in his last two performances. JC finished the night at the high scorer by 9 points for both teams.
With Talen Horton-Tucker on the bench and more ball to himself, Clarkson pulled the trigger 26 times. That’s 10 more shots than Lauri Markkanen took and 8 more shots than Bennedict Mathurin took for Indiana (he led the Pacers in attempts).
Clarkson only attempted three deep balls hitting one and did a lot of his work inside, including an 8 of 8 performance from the charity stripe. His 5 assists to 6 turnovers were a bit sour, but Jazz fans will settle for a scoring guard, a sight they have not seen in some time.
Lauri Markkanen did what he’s done all season. Score points (24) and get rebounds (9). Markkanen was 8/16 and 3/5 from downtown and few would have objected if he got more shots.
Some Jazz fans were quick to find issue that Clarkson dominated the shot taking responsibilities throughout the night, but Markkanen’s 16 filed goal attempts are only 1 less than his season average.
It isn’t a Clarkson VS Lauri contest as much as it was Clarkson taking on some of Horton-Tuckers shot attempts in the starting lineup and Lauri doing what he typically does.
John Collins is unflappable when it comes to scoring 14 points, something he has done in three consecutive contests. He has also hit a three in every single Jazz game this season. He had 9 rebounds while continuing those streaks and played really well in the first half due to the extra spacing.
Simone Fontecchio was the forward tasked to help replace some of Kessler’s minutes as he saw 18 minutes of floor time, tying a season high. Other than those two instances he had never played more than 10 minutes this year.
With the opportunity, Fontecchio produced a 10 point, 5 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block stat line while knocking down two threes. When Simone has gotten more than ten minutes in these early 9 games, he has shot 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from three for a combined 23 points.
A very small sample size yes, but a very intriguing one. If Simone can keep that production rate his play time life expectancy in Utah and the NBA as a whole will only increase. This was the Fontecchio that was advertised.
Collin Sexton had some spry moments with 10 points to lead the bench next to Fontecchio. The shooting was off a tad, but the zero turnovers aspect is what fans can take solace in.
Lastly, lets touch on the rookie. Keyonte George was fully immersed into the role logging almost 31 minutes.
Fans wanted to see him lead the offense and that’s exactly what he did. The scoring was nothing special going 3/8 for 7 points, but his 9 assists are the single highest total by a Jazz man this season.
George allowed the offense to move and breath while helping with the spacing. He rarely ever forced the issue only turning it over one time. 9 assists to 1 turnover ratio is exactly what Utah is looking for to stabilize their offense in these turbulent times.
It wasn’t perfect, but it’s what was needed and it would be Utah’s best shot now and, in the future, to roll with the rookie.
Didn’t Ochai start? How did he look?
Agbaji was an interesting part of this game.
His stat line leaves a lot to be desired and you would likely be disappointed if you just checked the box score. 3 points on 3 shots, 1 made three, 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
Offensively he did little for sure, you could even say underwhelming, but he was solid defensively and ended the night as a -3. the second highest mark on the team in terms of plus/minus.
It means little, but don’t think it was a total bust of a start. Let this lineup continue to marinate a bit.
Talen Horton-Tucker in his new bench role once again showed good and bad.
Bad- Scored 6 points on 8 shots and had 4 turnovers.
Good- He did end up with 5 assists and was the only Jazz player to post a positive +/- at 2.
So, Indiana has more than Tyrese Haliburton?
The casual fan will recognize Tyrese but he was most likely the 3rd most impactful Pacer in their home win.
Aaron Nesmith came off the bench for 24 going 9/13 and hitting 4 threes.
Myles Turner dumped in 22 against a smaller Jazz lineup than per usual while swatting away three shots.
Bennedict Mathurin had 22 points and 9 rebounds which led Indiana’s glass cleaning efforts.
Haliburton would finish with 16 points on 12 shots, but led a game high whopper of 13 assists making it easy to see why the Pacers had so many contributors.
Alright dude, what’s the stat?
Utah despite hanging tough for a while, can’t finish out a quarter to save their life:
How about a cool play?
Here is Jordan Clarkson getting back to being crafty:
Well, I feel a little better? Who gets the new look Jazz for round 2?
Utah wraps up the road trip with their very first in season tournament game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Utah defeated Memphis in Salt Lake 8 days ago and haven’t won since. Let’s see if things come full circle here against the 1-7 Grizzlies.