by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Christopher Creveling of USA TODAY Sports.
The Utah Jazz (27-26) takes on the Atlanta Hawks (26-26) and goes for the series sweep in their final matchup of the season.
Battle of Delta Hubs
The first quarter looked like both teams wanted to establish the perimeter shot early with little success. Atlanta went 1/8 (12.5%) from the perimeter while Utah shot 1/12 (8.3%). Walker Kessler (2 points and 5 rebounds), who is having a surprisingly great rookie campaign so far, had an off night struggling against Clint Capela (9/13/1). Utah’s savior for the quarter came off the bench in Collin Sexton (12 points and 1 rebound). Sexton scored 10 points in the quarter, but even with his contribution, Utah finished the quarter trailing 32-22.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “7’6” wingspan coming in handy 🦅 #TakeNote | @WalkerKessler13 https://t.co/JN0DHe01Pf” / Twitter
With one rookie underperforming, another Utah rookie decided to step up. Ochai Agbaji (11 points and 2 rebounds) was able to flip momentum back in Utah’s favor with a corner three and then on the following possession slammed a transition dunk assisted by Mike Conley (20/2/8). Utah finished the quarter on a 12-2 run but before then Utah had been outscored 28-16. With Utah having shooting splits of 41/24/64, it’s no surprise that going into the half Utah was trailing 62-50.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “sippin’ on that Ochai ☕️ #TakeNote | @youngoch https://t.co/mVT7PYn0zS” / Twitter
De’Andre the Hunter
Utah looked to start the second half to work towards a comeback. With Atlanta out-assisting and grabbing more offensive rebounds than Utah, it was an endless uphill battle. Utah found a glimpse of hope as they almost shot perfectly within the perimeter going 9/10 (90%) for the quarter but their perimeter shooting continued to be a goose egg at 3/10 (30%). The perimeter slump would’ve been worse if it weren’t for Lauri Markkanen (25/10/1) who shot 2/5 (40%) for the quarter. Jordan Clarkson (24/5/3) managed to force his way to create a 6-0 run on his own when the offense couldn’t find an answer. This run brought Utah within a 91-78 deficit going into the final quarter.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “get your game on, go play 🎵 #TakeNote | @MarkkanenLauri https://t.co/NajAXs7RO1” / Twitter
In the final quarter, Utah looked to close in on Trae Young (27/4/6), who had been able to score at will within the perimeter shooting 8/12 (75%) but from an outside shot just 2/8 (25%) for the game. The focus on Young allowed for an unsuspecting player for Atlanta to cook. De’Andre Hunter (26/4/3) was able to take off in the fourth quarter. Hunter shot 10/15 (66.7%) from the field for the game going 3/3 (100%) for the quarter. With Malik Beasley (5/2/2) struggling on both ends of the court throughout the game, Utah coach Will Hardy decided to try a new lineup with Nickeil Alexander-Walker (n/a). Though it was a small sample size, with this lineup adjustment Atlanta was held to their lowest-scoring quarter of the game. Though Utah was able to cut their deficit down to five points with three minutes left in the game, Utah finished with a loss, 115-108.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “he knew it, we all knew it 🔥 #TakeNote | @jordanclarksons https://t.co/tHBpPBQV8D” / Twitter
Utah will welcome the Dallas Mavericks for the second time in a week to Salt Lake City on Monday.