by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Spenser Heaps of Deseret News.
At Utah’s Pace
The first quarter looked like Utah wasn’t going to miss. A majority of Utah’s points in the first quarter came from beyond the arc. Shooting 7/12 (58.3%) from beyond the arc and 14/23 (60.8%) from the field, Utah’s coach Will Hardy made a noticeable change on defense. To start the game, Hardy gave Jarred Vanderbilt (8/6/2) the defensive assignment to guard Tyrese Haliburton (14/6/4). This adjustment prevented the league leader in assists to zero points and zero assists during the first quarter. Indiana tried to find an answer to Utah’s scoring barrage by continuously driving to the basket and being rewarded with free throws. Though it was a valiant effort by Indiana, Utah finished the quarter with a 35-24 lead.
Even with a dominant first quarter, the second quarter seemed to have the same story. Both teams combined for a 75-point quarter that became a war at the free throw line. Utah went 14/15 (93.3%) from the line, which is one of their better performances from the line this season. Though this is the case, Utah had a 15-point lead, lost it entirely, then responded with a 9-0 run with two minutes left in the half. With Utah shooting over 60 percent for the half, led by Lauri Markkanen (24/13/3) on 6/10 (60%) shooting, Utah added to their lead going into the half 75-59.
The Blue and Bold
The third quarter felt like an eternity. After an atrocious number of fouls, errors and turnovers, the quarter last 33 minutes. One notable foul was a technical foul commit by Jordan Clarkson (19/1/3). Looks as if Clarkson and Andrew Nembhard (13/4/10) got into a little argument that led to Clarkson tapping the bottom of Nembhard’s chin. By the end of the quarter Utah had a whopping 18 turnovers, yet assists were still coming in fluidly. Talen Horton-Tucker (6/5/9) able to get three assists in the quarter, seven for the game. Even with their lowest scoring quarter of the game with 26 points, Utah held the lead 101-81.
In the final quarter, it became a shootout on all three level for both teams. Utah made nine free throws (9/9, 100%), seven shots inside the perimeter (7/11, 63.6%) and five shots beyond the arc (5/14, 35.7%). With Utah showing production from the bench players such as Walker Kessler (20/11/1), Malik Beasley (16/5/1) and Ochai Agbaji (5 points), they were able to maintain their lead till the final buzzer. Along with Kessler’s career high in points, Utah finished the game with a 139-119 win over Indiana.
The Utah Jazz takes on the Portland Trail Blazers (11-11) on Saturday night as their second game of a back-to-back. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. MT on AT&T SportsNet.