If there’s one thing you can say about this jazz team, it’s that they never quit. Regardless of the circumstances, whether the ball goes into the hoop or not, they play him a full 48 minutes.
Friday night was just that.
Despite a night when they couldn’t drop a 3-pointer when they needed it most, Utah nearly stopped shaking before falling to Sacramento in heartbreaking 126-125 fashion.
“Obviously, it’s a tough, tough finish,” head coach Will Hardy said after the game. They played well, thanks to our mates sticking with it and keeping the competition all night long.…It took a lot of determination for our group to take the lead late. rice field.”
One of the better three-point shooting teams in the league, the Jazz had a great offense for most of the game. They got a lot of open looks but couldn’t find a way to string some together to open up the game.Overall, they shot from the deep where he went 8-for-32. I let go—Mike Conley is the only player to have beaten more than two.
“It’s another tough night for us behind the three-point line with some good looks,” said Hardy. There were a lot of positives in playing tonight.”
Ahead of the information, Lauri Markkanen made it known that being named to the NBA All-Star Game is his personal goal behind Utah’s goals as a team.The Jazz lost Friday. Maybe, but Markkanen continued to insist on playing at the showcase in February.
Despite a night of rough shooting from 3, he proved vulnerable in the arc with 36 points and 5 rebounds. He shot 16-for-24 from the field, with all but one of his field goals falling below the three-point line.
After a slow first-half start by his standards, he exploded with 12 points in the third quarter. This includes dunks on three consecutive possessions to start the second half. He was arguably playing his best game of the season when he landed a huge dunk on Kings star Domantas Sabonis that upset even the Sacramento fans.
“Lori is a beast,” said Hardy. “Once he got into the rhythm, he hit some two-point shots from above. Even when he didn’t hit a three-point shot, it was a great sign of improvement that he finished.” 36 points.
As he has done throughout the season, Jordan Clarkson remained everything the Jazz needed. In the minutes Markkanen sat down, Clarkson did a great job of taking over the Jazz on offense and making a living in the paint and the free-throw line.
His ability to break through defenses at any time has been clinical against the Kings, always maintaining a dribble and knocking down contested shots with his ability to stop on a dime.
He finished with 25 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, shooting 12-for-8 from the field and 10-for-9 from the Charity Stripes. It was also his sixth straight game with 20 or more points.
Conley was still sleeveless and was sensational for Utah all night.
He was essential in keeping Utah in control of the pace in response to Sacramento’s big buckets and keeping the Jazz looking good every time they went down the court. So I kept getting out of the shooting slump.
Conley had 17 points, eight assists, two rebounds and 4-of-8 shooting.
The Jazz appeared to be the team playing three straight away games at the start of this game as Sacramento jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. After a pair of quick Utah buckets, the Kings continued his 7-2 run.
Again, the Jazz stayed on track, biting away as Markkanen and Clarkson found early success reaching the rim. Trailing seven points in the second half of the first, Utah scored the final four, including Walker Kessler’s three.
Utah trailed 1-2, 30-27.
Second most credit went to the Jazz, as they always stayed close to Sacramento and the Kings never blew it. Whether it was Clarkson, Markkanen, or anyone else, Utah always had an answer that stayed close at hand.
After Sacramento had a nine-point lead midway through the quarter, Kelly Olynyk slammed in a big three to silence the crowd. The Kings again trailed by eight in the second half, but with the sensational Kessler holding the bucket, Utah answered and Markkanen added three free throws.
The Jazz trailed 60-57 at the break.
The third quarter started with a bang when Markkanen declared war on his fellow international star Sabonis with an incredible poster dunk. This was the second of three consecutive dunks as Markkanen single-handedly kept Utah alive.
After Sacramento extended their lead to 10 and the crowd went wild again, the Jazz continued to battle with a quick 8-0 run that included Clarkson’s 6 points to make it a 2-point game late in the quarter.
Once again, the Kings looked to get away with the game, but Rudy Gay knocked down a 3 and the opposing Fox’s shot came after the buzzer.
Utah finished fourth with a score of 91-87.
After Markkanen and Vanderbilt buckets gave Utah a two-point lead with five remaining, the Kings responded with a 10-0 run, leading 119-111 with just under three minutes left.
The Jazz weren’t done yet, taking a 14-4 lead with 26 seconds remaining, trailing by two. After stopping on his two shots in the first, the Kings grabbed another offensive rebound and found the lead with Kevin Harter’s three shots on him with nine seconds remaining.
Utah had one last chance, but Markkanen’s shot missed.
Kessler finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds and a team-high +17 rating. He changed the game when he entered, as his length plagued the Kings of the rim, especially Sabonis.
There’s no time to relax as Utah goes home to face Miami in a New Year’s Eve showdown – tips are set for 7pm MT.
“The general message is that there is nothing we can do about this game right now,” Hardy said. It’s about taking it and participating.”