The Utah Jazz were down 95 to 83 as the third quarter came to a close Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game was getting out of hand, the defense was failing and the offense, Lauri Markkanen included, was just out of sync. The team was 2-6 in their last eight and heading to a disastrous seven-loss stretch over nine games.
Then the most miraculous thing happened, Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy actually leaves in Walker Kessler. Historically, Kessler has been on the bench in the fourth quarter of play but Hardy put him in with about five minutes left to go in the third. From that moment on, Kessler changed the momentum of the game.
Starting from when he checked in at the end of the third quarter, Kessler shot 5-6 from the floor, and 2-2 from the free-throw line, totaling 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Two of those six rebounds were offensive rebounds as well. His scoring was incredible; while he didn't take any shots out of the paint, he had several dunks, alley-oops, and even one put-back. His ability to control the paint was on full display.
It's the reason so many people were so high on him heading into this season, they saw Kessler as the kind of guy who could make a huge impact on the outcome of a game. And he did just that against the Bucks. What's most impressive about that, is how he started the game to how he finished. He was 0-1 from the floor, 1-2 from the free throw line, with just two rebounds, and one block heading into his third-quarter arrival.
He ended up finishing the game with a +22 BPM and being, easily, the biggest catalyst for why the Jazz drubbed the Bucks 40-13 in the final frame of action. Kessler has earned more minutes; so let's get him them.