After a poor showing in the opener, the Utah Jazz looked much better Friday night versus the LA Clippers.
With a disappointing season opener against the Sacramento Kings in the rearview mirror, the Utah Jazz got back to business Friday night in a thrilling 120-118 win over the LA Clippers.
Lauri Markkanen was much more assertive tonight, leading the Jazz with 35 points while adding 12 rebounds and 3 assists.
Collin Sexton was engaged on both ends, taking better shots on the way to 13 points off the bench in 20 minutes, and showing more emotion than we’ve seen from him in a Jazz uniform.
Keyonte George played well in limited minutes, looking more comfortable tonight with 8 points, 3 boards, and 2 assists in just 12 minutes.
Kelly “The Clinic” Olynyk put on a show in the 4th quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to get the lead back after the Jazz fell behind by 4 points.
Talen-Horton Tucker led the Jazz in assists with 8, on a night the team had 27 total. His defense still leaves a bit to be desired, but he was a +4 tonight so not a minus as he has been previously.
And Jordan Clarkson, on an off night for him, hit a clutch 26 foot 3 pointer, then played amazing defense on Kawhi Leonard to seal the victory.
Overall, the Utah Jazz did some great things tonight:
- They won the rebounding battle (45-36) and had 17 offensive boards, compared to 6 for the Clippers.
- The Jazz had 18 fast-break points, compared to 5 for the Clippers.
- The balance in scoring was great – 6 Jazz players in double figures.
- The defensive effort was much better and the team looked focused.
A few things to work on for the Utah Jazz:
- Defensive rotations to cover 3-point shooters were lacking at times, some of those being miscommunications as to who was guarding who.
- Walker Kessler is averaging 7.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks while playing 21.5 minutes a game. The Jazz need him to step up. In the next 2 games, he faces Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic.
- A sub-44% shooting percentage won’t win you a lot of ball games, the Jazz need to improve their shooting moving forward.
Overall it was a great win, and nice to see the Utah Jazz pull out a close game against a strong team like the Clippers. They head out tonight for the next game, Saturday evening in Phoenix against the Suns and then Monday in Denver against the Nuggets.