Bogdanovic Flourishes While Clarkson Struggles As Jazz Crush Nets
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz made no mistake about their competition on Wednesday night when they destroyed a decimated Brooklyn Nets roster 118-88.
The Nets came into Utah without Kevin Durant, James Harden, or Kyrie Irving who account for more than 82 points, 22 assists, and 20 rebounds per night. The Jazz meanwhile followed up their terrific performance Monday in Chicago with another dominant display, leading the 38-17 after the first quarter, 63-38 at the half, before coasting to a 30 point blowout.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 27 points while Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley scored 18 points apiece to carry the Jazz to victory.
Bogdanovic Finds His Stroke
The Jazz got a welcome boost from Bojan Bogdanovic who scored 18 points on 5-8 shooting, including 4-6 from deep. The forward discussed his struggles this season after the team’s morning shootaround on Wednesday.
“This is probably the worst stretch of my career shooting the ball,” Bogdanovic said. “I’m making bad decisions when to shoot, and when to calm down and wait for the shot to come to me.”
Bogdanovic’s decisions looked much better against the back half of the Nets roster, confidently sinking open threes while finishing easily at the rim, or drawing contact to get to the foul line.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 25, 2021
After averaging more than 20 points per game last season, the forward has seen his average drop to just 14.9 points per outing and hasn’t crossed the 20 point threshold since March 1.
Over the last seven games entering Thursday night, Bogdanovic was averaging just 11.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting an abysmal 29 percent from the floor and 22 percent from three.
The forward’s inconsistent play and the lower level of competition he faced against Brooklyn make it impossible to draw anything definitive about his performance, but it was likely a much-needed confidence builder for the Jazz before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Jordan Clarkson’s Frustrating March
While the Jazz got a welcome boost from Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson has quietly had a brutal March. The front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year has seen his efficiency plummet from the opening months of the season when he laid the groundwork for his end-of-season award candidacy.
Against Brooklyn, Clarkson scored just three points on 1-15 shooting including 1-11 from the floor. It was by far the guard’s worst performance in a Jazz uniform and comes on the heels of several bad outings.
Jordan Clarkson shaking his head as he leaves the court to end the 3rd quarter. He's ice cold and he knows it.
Last 4 games from 3PT:
He'll find that touch again. Its just not there right now.#TakeNote
— Sam Farnsworth (@Samsworth_KSL) March 25, 2021
For the month, the guard is averaging 12.5 points per game, shooting just 33 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the three-point line.
It’s a stark contrast from Clarkson’s first 34 games of the season when he averaged 18.1 points while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 37 percent from the three-point line.
At one point in the fourth quarter during a timeout, Clarkson threw a towel some 20 feet in the air out of frustration. After his next scoreless stint, he sat 15 feet away from the team huddle before pacing into the team’s tunnel before talking back and sitting at the basketball stanchion.
“I don’t want to overreact to one or two games for any of our guys,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We know who Jordan is, he’s been terrific, and he’s had far more games where he’s made shots.”
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) March 25, 2021
Even with the Jazz blowing out the Nets, Clarkson was -6 in 21 minutes on the floor.
Remarkably, the Jazz are +27 with Clarkson on the floor this month, largely thanks to his enormous +25 outing in the Jazz last game in Chicago, but even without that outlier, the team has outscored opponents in five of the other seven games this month with Clarkson on the floor.
Still, the Jazz are going to need Clarkson to right the ship before the postseason. Last year Clarkson averaged 20.3 points per game in the team’s three playoff wins, and just 14 points in the four losses.
The Jazz now turn to their attention to the Memphis Grizzlies who they’ll face in the next two games at home starting on Friday night.
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