How ‘Bout This Jazz? (Game 5)
By Rustyn Burnside, ESPN 977
GAME 5 VS HOUSTON ROCKETS (10/26/22)
The Jazz advanced to 4-1 on the year while avenging Monday’s loss in Houston as they beat the now 1-4 Rockets to the tune of 109-101. It was only the second home game of the season and for a team that is supposedly uninteresting, the Viv looked packed with anxious fans ready to watch one of the scrappiest groups we have seen in recent memory. The Jazz fought through foul trouble and a huge 4th quarter Houston run that saw a once 19-point lead get trimmed to two. Lauri Markkanen and Kevin Porter Jr led their respective teams with 24 points apiece. The shooting woes from Monday’s loss somehow got worse with Utah shooting 42 percent from the field and nearly 29 percent from deep. That was remedied however by some really solid defense against an even worse Rockets offense. This game featured multiple throwdowns that will make the season highlight reel at the end of the season. Markkanen and Horton-Tucker provided some of that boom. The winning may or may not be sustainable, but the team still provides an excitement Jazz fans will show up for. Utah will next travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets in their second matchup against one another in ten days this Friday the 28th of October. For the complete box score in Utah’s victory over Houston, select the link below.
Lauri Markkanen has gone from an intriguing prospect to a seemingly essential cornerstone of a future successful franchise. Tony Jones of The Athletic said it best. “He’s showing that he’s good enough to be a core player on a very good team.” Markkanen is a key component behind Utah’s hot start and last nights win was a perfect example. Lauri was 10 of 15 from the field, good for nearly 67 percent. What he lacked in the deep ball (1 of 4) he made up for through rebounding with 9 boards, 3 assists and some great hustle. My hopes are high for him to break the Jazz absurd regular season drought of a player recording a triple double. Carlos Boozer was the last Jazz man to snag such a stat line. The craziest thing about Markkanen’s early play is that he has not shot well from beyond the arc. He’s a career 36 percent three-point shooter, and in the snowcapped mountains of Salt Lake, he’s barely hovering over 24 percent. If that catches back up to him, Jazz fans are in for another surprise from the Finnish forward. As if 21.5 PPG and 8.8 RPG weren’t enough already.
Talen Horton-Tucker is deserving of an honorable mention right here. THT’s short tenure in Utah has been filled with question marks and fans still aren’t exactly sure what the THT experiment will bring. After watching Fontecchio break free on Monday, Horton-Tucker came out with some added motivation. He had his best game for the fighting J-notes with 5 of 11 shooting, two triples, 7 boards, 4 assists and two steals. He played a season high 28 minutes, due to his play and a lot of foul trouble. He also blew by Kevin Porter Jr and delivered a thunderous throwdown on the top of Tari Eason. Talen is 21 and has had some very bright moments in his career. Hopefully for Jazz nation, last night’s energy was a small taste of what’s to come.
THREE KEY NUMBERS:
- 30 for the Rockets, 26 for the Jazz. Nope, I’m not referencing assist numbers or Free Throws attempted. I’m talking about fouls. The officials took center stage last night with 56 fouls. The whistle was loud and often in Vivint, oftentimes ruining any momentum or rhythm for both squads.
- According to Jazz radio play by play man, David Locke, the Jazz have used 56 total lineups and only one lineup has played more than 17 minutes together. They used 19 in last nights victory, and Utah’s starters shared the floor for a grand total of 7 minutes. Foul trouble and Collin Sexton exiting early had something to do with this, but its certainly not everything going into the way Will Hardy rolls his guys out.
- Per StatMuse, the Utah Jazz have more wins than the Nets, Sixers, Mavericks and Lakers altogether. Tanking? How about the number one seed in the West.
AUDIO OF THE NIGHT:
OPPOSING FAN COMMENT OF THE NIGHT:
“Silas being out couched by that video assistant nerd for Utah. RIP.” – Sea_Space_4040