3 studs and 1 dud from dominant Utah Jazz win over Portland Trail Blazers

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Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz center Hassan Whiteside (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)

For the second game in a row, the Utah Jazz dominated their competition. This time, that dominance came against a projected playoff team.

Yesterday, we predicted a close contest for this game. Had Damian Lillard scored 17 more points than the 11 he mustered up against this elite Jazz defense, we’d at least have guessed the margin correctly. Instead, the Jazz pulled out a 129-107 win over a quality Portland Trail Blazers team.

Dame may be generally struggling this season, but 11 points on 4/12 shooting from the field is far below any performance that would be expected from the superstar. The Jazz swarmed him with reckless abandon, denying him the ball wherever possible and funneling him into 3x Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert with great success on multiple occasions.

The Utah Jazz have now won six of their last eight games.  They’re beginning to resemble the contender we expected to see heading into the 2021-22 season.

Here are 3 studs and 1 dud from last nights’ performance.

Utah Jazz stud: Jordan Clarkson

If the Jazz are turning a corner, Clarkson and his consistently improving efficiency may be in the driver’s seat.

Lately, this Jazz club has been moving the ball more frequently. After hovering around the bottom of the league in Assists Per Game, they’ve bumped themselves up to 24th in the NBA with 22.0 helpers per. Jordan Clarkson may be the primary benefactor of this offensive adjustment.

Last night, the ball whizzed around the perimeter on the Jazz’s end all night long, and it resulted in a lot of quality looks for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. He responded by putting those open looks in the basket.

Clarkson finished this contest with 22 points on 7/15 shooting from the field and 6/10 shooting from three-point range. The former mark is perfectly acceptable, but the latter mark is particularly encouraging.

We can’t expect Clarkson to shoot 60% from three-point range on a consistent basis, but hopefully, last night was an indication that he’ll improve on the 29.9% he’s shooting on the season so far.

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