UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Snap Losing Streak, Markkanen Outclasses Booker

Nov 18, 2022, 10:36 PM
Utah-Jazz-Lauri-Markkanen-Jordan-Clarkson...
Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) and Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) react as the Utah Jazz win an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns 134-133 at the Vivint Arena (photo: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(photo: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Devin Booker scored a game-high 47 points for the Phoenix Suns, but it was Lauri Markkanen who carried the Utah Jazz to a victory on Friday night.

Markkanen scored a career-high 38 points, and the Jazz needed every basket to snap their season-worst three-game losing streak with a 134-133 victory.

The Jazz now have a quick turnaround as they face the West-leading Trail Blazers on Saturday in Portland.

Markkanen Has Best Game Of Career

Markkanen has had several stellar games already this season with the Jazz, including his 31-point, 12-rebound outing against the Memphis Grizzlies on Halloween night, but it’s not a stretch to say his outing against the Suns was the best of his career.

The forward scored a personal-best 38 points on a super-efficient 15-18 from the floor, becoming the first Jazz player to since Karl Malone in 1998 to score at least that many points while shooting 80 percent from the floor or better.

Only Markkanen, Malone, and Dantley have achieved those numbers in a Jazz uniform.

It’s a much-needed turnaround after the forward’s numbers had begun to recede to his career averages over the last three games.

During the Jazz’s three-game losing streak Markkane averaged just 15.0 points per game, down from the 22.7 he’d averaged through the team’s first 13 games.

Even at 15.0 points per game Markkanen would be just a hair below the 15.4 points he’d averaged through the first five seasons of his career. But, after a brilliant showing at EuroBasket and a strong start to the year, the forward showed he could offer significantly more.

What’s most impressive is how authentic Markken’s numbers have been so far this season. Rather than putting up big numbers on an underperforming team, the Finnish star’s strong performances directly correlate to the Jazz’s success.

In the Jazz’s 10 previous wins this season Markkanen averaged 25.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest. In their six losses, his averages dipped to 15.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.

If the Jazz continue to go as Markkanen goes, he’s given them little reason to believe they can’t continue to rack up wins with him as the main man.

Beasley Is On Fire

Malik Beasley chipped in a masterful 27 points off the bench in the win, his new season-high in a Jazz uniform.

The veteran guard has now scored in double-digits in the Jazz’s last seven games and is averaging 18.6 points per game in his last five outings.

He’s also dialed in from the three-point line having made at least three threes in each of his last six games, including a season-high 7-13 on Friday night.

Beasley is shooting 28-59 from downtown over the last six games, marking only the fourth time in Jazz history a player has made that many threes in that short of a span.

Only Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Donovan Mitchell have matched or exceeded Beasley’s proficiency.

Beasley’s ability to flourish in a bench role has been crucial for the Jazz as it’s allowed Jordan Clarkson to remain in the starting lineup. Clarkson had a bounce-back 20-point performance against the Suns after three rough outings last week.

Jazz Face Trail Blazers Saturday Night

The Jazz follow up their impressive win over the Phoenix Suns with a tough back-to-back against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland owns the best record in the West at 10-5, just percentage points ahead of the Jazz for the conference’s top spot.

The Trail Blazers have jumped out to a hot start thanks to Weber State legend Damian Lillard who is back from last year’s abdominal injury that caused him to miss the majority of Portland’s games.

Lillard is averaging 27.6 points and 7.0 assists while shooting an efficient 44 percent from the floor and 36 percent from the three-point line.

Portland is just 1-2 in their last three games including a tough loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

Former Jazzman Royce O’Neale tipped in the game-winner off a Kevin Durant miss with 0.7 seconds left to play as he finished with his first career triple-double recording 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Jerami Grant looks to be competing with the Jazz’s Markkanen as a first-time All-Star in the West.

Grant is averaging 20.1 points and 4.9 rebounds for Portland after the Trail Blazers acquired the dynamic two-way forward from the Detroit Pistons in the offseason.

Extras:

  • Mike Conley shot 4-5 from the three-point line against Phoenix after shooting just 2-17 over the Jazz’s three previous outings.
  • Conley has six double-digit assist games in just 16 appearances this season. That’s double what he had last year in 72 games.
  • Kelly Olynyk followed up his season-high 27 points against the Knicks with a rough five-point, five-foul, four-turnover outing against the Suns.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt continues to flirt with a triple-double. The forward had six points, eight assists, and 11 rebounds against the Suns.

Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Trail Blazers will tip off at 8 pm MT in Portland. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and NBATV and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The game will also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

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