UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Beat Trail Blazers, Retake Top Record In West

Nov 19, 2022, 11:38 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2022, 11:22 am

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz knocked off the Portland Trail Blazers 118-113 in a battle for the top record in the Western Conference.

With the win, the Jazz leaped Portland for the top spot in the conference at 12-6 after falling to the fourth seed last week.

Malik Beasley scored a season-high 28 points while Jordan Clarkson’s late rally carried the Jazz to the victory.

Jazz Aren’t Supposed To Be Doing This

The Jazz aren’t supposed to be winning these games. That’s not to say they should be purposely losing games in order to improve their draft standings, but simply put this roster should not be able to win these types of games.

The Jazz were on the second night of a back-to-back, after beating the Phoenix Suns last night in Salt Lake City in a game that required a full 48-minute effort.

That’s the same Suns team that owned the best record in the NBA last season and has the third-best record in the West heading into last night’s game.

The Jazz then jumped on a plane, went through a team meeting Saturday morning before suiting up to play West-leading Trail Blazers who were at a rest advantage, having not played since Thursday night, and who had been sleeping in their own beds since last Saturday night.

And how they beat Portland was impressive in its own right.

First, they fell behind by 12 in the first half, but found the will to fight back.

They built a 19-point lead in the third quarter, only to watch it disappear in just four minutes, as the Trail Blazers took a one-point lead at home in the fourth quarter.

Then, after scoring just 13 points on 5-17 through the first three quarters, including missing all five of his three-point attempts, Jordan Clarkson scored 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, connecting on 5-6 shots from the floor, including 2-2 from downtown.

Again this is just 24 hours after beating the Suns on Friday, several states away.

Now 18 games into the season, the Jazz have beaten seven of the other nine teams in the top 10 of the Western Conference, and they’ve done it in myriad ways. They’ve won in blowouts, they’ve won close. They’ve won at home and on the road, they won with reset and without.

It’s been easy to write this team off at points in the season after difficult stretches, but they continue to answer the bell and reach newer, better heights.

Again, they aren’t supposed to be doing this, but they clearly aren’t beholden to anyone else’s expectations this season.

Mike Conley Leaves With Injury

It wasn’t all good news for the Jazz in Portland as guard Mike Conley left the game in the third quarter with a left knee injury.

The veteran stepped award fighting over a Jusuf Nurkic screen and slow to get up off the floor. Conley walked to the locker room under his own power but was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.

Conley has been a major part of the Jazz’s success this season as he entered Saturday night’s game as the fourth-leading assist man in the NBA at 8.2 per game.

He’s also scoring 10.9 points per game, and shooting 38 percent from the three-point line. What’s most impressive about Conley however is how rarely he’s turned the ball over this season.

The guard averages just 1.6 giveaways each night, despite his huge assist numbers, a sign of his steadiness on the court.

The Jazz struggled with turnovers in his absence, coughing it up five times in the fourth quarter leading to easy Portland baskets. It nearly cost them the game.

Even with Conley’s low number, the Jazz are the eighth-worst team in the league when it comes to giveaways, turning the ball over 15.9 times per game.

Talen Horton-Tucker played well in Conley’s absence scoring eight points, grabbing five rebounds, and committing zero turnovers in 31 minutes on the court. He’s been the Jazz best backup point guard this season and will likely see extended minutes if Conley misses any games due to the injury.

Even with Horton-Tucker’s growth, the Jazz will miss Conley’s leadership if he’s sidelined, and they have a tough schedule ahead.

Extras:

  • Malik Beasley has made 30 three-pointers in his last six games.
  • Lauri Markkanen had his fifth 20-point, 10-rebound game of the season, he had just four in the previous three seasons combined.
  • The Jazz last held the top record in the West last season on November 4th.

Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz will put the top record in the West on the line Monday when they face the Clippers at 8:30 pm MT in Los Angeles. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The game will also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

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