UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Rookie Ochai Agbaji Scores First NBA Points

Oct 28, 2022, 8:17 PM
Ochai-Agbaji-Jazz...
Utah Jazz guard Ochai Agbaji poses for a photo on media day at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Jazz rookie Ochai Agbaji scored the first points of his NBA career during Utah’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets hosted the Jazz at Ball Arena on Friday, October 28.

With 6:36 left in the second quarter, Jordan Clarkson dished the ball off to the Kansas product, who drove towards the hoop for a layup and his first bucket as a professional basketball player.

Agbaji’s basket trimmed Denver’s lead to 57-39.

A minute and half later, Agbaji scored another layup.

At halftime, the Jazz trailed the Nuggets, 63-50.

During his first nine minutes on the court, Agbaji had four points on 2-3 shooting, including 0-1 from beyond the arc. He added one rebound.

It was Agbaji’s second time on the court this season. He played one minute during Utah’s season opener against Denver.

Utah’s game against Denver is broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass, and KSL Sports Zone.

Jazz vs. Nuggets

Multiple Jazz players won’t suit up for Utah’s road game in the Mile High City, a couple of which due to the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols for COVID-19.

Forwards Rudy Gay and Simone Fontecchio were ruled out by the Jazz because of the protocols.

In addition to those players, first-year center Walker Kessler is out due to a non-COVID-19 illness.

Two-way rookie Johnny Juzang is currently with the Salt Lake City Stars.

First Five Games

The Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers are the two hottest teams in the Western Conference opening the season 4-1.

The Blazers stood alone atop the West until they fell to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night at home.

The Jazz meanwhile avenged Monday’s loss in Houston with a 109-101 victory over the Rockets in Salt Lake City before setting off for a one-game road trip against the Nuggets.

Lauri Markkanen is having a career-year in Utah averaging 22.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in dive appearances with the Jazz.

Guard Jordan Clarkson is also experiencing career-bests in points, rebounds, assists, and three-point percentage as a full-time starter for the Jazz.

Markkanen and Clarkson combined for 44 points in the Jazz win over the Rockets.

Nuggets Trying To Find Footing

The Nuggets are off to a bit of a wobbly start to open the season at 3-2.

Denver has lost to both the Jazz and the Trail Blazers in blowout fashion, but has recorded wins over the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, and most recently the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets own the seventh-worst defensive rating entering Friday night’s game against the Jazz and have given up 123 points or more in three of their five outings.

Denver’s normally high-powered offense has struggled this season since welcoming back Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery) from serious injuries last season.

Superstar center Nikola Jokic’s scoring is down nearly five full points from his average last season, though he’s averaging a career-high 9.4 assists through five games.

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