Olynyk, Clarkson, Markkanen Push Jazz Past Pelicans In Overtime
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz blew a 17 point fourth quarter lead, but clutch plays in overtime allowed them to stay undefeated with a 122-121 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Markkanen, and Kelly Olynyk each hit big shots in the game’s extra period and withstood a furious push from CJ McCollum to escape with a victory.
Markkanen scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Olynyk added 20 in the team’s second straight overtime victory.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) October 24, 2022
New Formula, Same Result
The Jazz are 3-0 on the season, but despite winning back-to-back overtime games, each game has featured a different winning formula, down the players on the court.
In game one, Collin Sexton helped the Jazz cap a dramatic comeback win, erasing Denver’s 17 point first half lead, and winning 123-102.
Against Minnesota, Malik Beasley and Jordan Clarkson carried the Jazz in the final period knocking down five threes against the Timberwolves before Mike Conley iced the game overtime.
In New Orleans, Beasley and Sexton went scoreless in the fourth quarter, but Clarkson’s seven points gave the Jazz enough of a boost to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, Olynyk carried the Jazz scoring six points including the game-winning layup with three seconds left to play.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 24, 2022
Beasley and Sexton played a total of eight seconds in overtime as coach Will Hardy showed a willingness to play the hot hand night-to-night to give his team the best chance to win.
Through three games the first-year coach has pushed all the right buttons. Not only has the team won games, but the players have bought into their ever-changing roles.
Whether the Jazz can continue to alter the rotation on a nightly basis remains to be seen, but as long as they’re winning games, the players will stay happy.
It’s a testament to the roster’s versatility and maturity that all 15 players have remained engaged, but credit also belongs to Hardy who has found a way to get his group to pull in the same selfless direction.
The Jazz Could Easily Be 0-3
For fans who have wanted to see the Jazz lose these last three games in hopes of improving their odds to land Victor Wembanyama, it’s worth recognizing how close they’ve come to being winless on the season.
Yes, the Jazz ended up crushing the Nuggets in the season opener, but Denver was struggling to work Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back into the rotation.
The team’s last two wins have come in overtime and the Jazz have used some late luck to remain unbeaten.
First, the Jazz needed to erase a 17 point deficit against Minnesota, even before Rudy Gobert missed two late free throws that could have potentially extended the game to a second overtime.
In New Orleans, Olynyk gave the Jazz just enough to avoid watching their enormous fourth quarter lead turn into a loss.
Furthermore, the Pelicans closed the game without either Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson who left in the second and fourth quarters after getting injured.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 24, 2022
Williamson’s injury did help spark the Pelicans late run, but they may have never needed it had Ingram remained in the game. Either way, the New Orleans didn’t have their two best players on the floor in overtime, and it proved to be too difficult to overcome.
Again, the Jazz deserve credit for winning each of these first three games, but for fans worried they’re too good to tank, they could have easily been winless on the season.
Jazz Face Tough Back-To-Back In Houston
On paper, the Jazz game against the Houston Rockets was set to be the easiest of their three-game road trip.
However, after two overtimes, and a late flight to Houston from New Orleans, the Rockets may present a tougher test than expected.
Houston has yet to win a game this season, but battled hard against the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies before a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Second-year guard Jalen Green has taken a big step in his game for Houston averaging 23.7 points per game over the first three outings while shooting a blazing 47 percent from the three-point line.
Kevin Porter Jr. is averaging 19.0 points per game and is shooting 53 percent from beyond the arc.
The Rockets are one of the least experienced teams in the league but are loaded with lottery talent and have the rest advantage over the Jazz who are playing their third game in four nights, including back-to-back overtime games.
The Jazz and Rockets will tip off at 6 pm MT in Houston. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The games will also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.
- The Jazz had 29 assists against Houston marking the third straight game they’d had at least 27 assists this season. It took last year’s team 15 games before they had three outings of at least 27 assists.
- Walker Kessler continued his strong play off the bench recording seven points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in 22 minutes. His defense in the second half was critical with Jarred Vanderbilt in foul trouble.
- Vanderbilt is averaging 5.3 fouls per game despite playing just 23.6 minutes per night.
- Simone Fontecchio appeared in two separate stints for the Jazz against New Orleans and still played only nine seconds.
- Collin Sexton had his least efficient game of the season scoring eight points on just 2-10 shooting but led the Jazz in plus-minus at +11 in 19 minutes.
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