UTAH JAZZ

Vanderbilt Sets Career High In First Half As Jazz Trail By Nine

Dec 3, 2022, 8:34 PM | Updated: 8:38 pm

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 23: Jarred Vanderbilt #8 of the Utah Jazz shoots over Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a game at the Smoothie King Center on October 23, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

SALT LAKE CITY – Jarred Vanderbilt was on fire from deep on Saturday night, setting a career-high with three first half three’s against Portland.

The Jazz (14-11) are playing host to the Damian Lillard-less Portland Trail Blazers (11-11) at Vivint Arena on Saturday, December 3.

After scoring 11 first half points, Vanderbilt added his fourth three of the game early in the third quarter as the Jazz try to fight back against Portland.

In his first season with the Jazz after being acquired from Minnesota in the Rudy Gobert trade, Vanderbilt’s energy has been a boon for the Jazz. His hustle can be seen in the 8.3 rebounds he averages each game.

Vanderbilt also contributes 8.3 points, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Utah Jazz Host Portland Trail Blazers

The Jazz now turn their attention to the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back.

Portland is on an extended rest, having not played since Wednesday night in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Trail Blazers, like the Jazz, opened the season making a surprise fight for the spot in the Western Conference before key injuries derailed their momentum.

Portland was 10-4 on November 16, but has since dropped seven of their last eight outings, and sits at 11-11 and in 10th place in the Western Conference.

Their struggles coincide with a calf strain to Damian Lillard who has missed the team’s last four games.

Lillard originally suffered the injury in the Jazz and Trail Blazers’ last meeting which the Jazz won 118-113.

RELATED: Jazz Guard Mike Conley Suffers Knee Injury Against Trail Blazers

The superstar guard is not expected to suit up for Portland until they return home to face the Pacers on December 4.

In their last meeting, the Jazz got 29 points from Malik Beasley off the bench and 28 from Jordan Clarkson who led all starters.

Anfernee Simons scored 23 points to lead the Blazers but was only 4-13 from the three-point line in the loss.

Walker Kessler Shows Major Growth

Walker Kessler had the best night of his NBA career scoring 20 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, blocking two shots, and shooting a perfect 7-7 from the floor last night against the Indiana Pacers.

RELATED: Walker Kessler Posts Career-Highs In Jazz Win

Much of Kessler’s scoring on alley-oops where his teammates recorded easy assists near the rim. It’s an area where Jazz coach Will Hardy thinks his rookie recenter can thrive.

“He has good hands so it’s not just the dunks, it’s the ones that are a little bit off target he can still catch and put off the board and finish,” Hardy said.

“Walker’s a good athlete, he can really run and jump so I definitely think that he’s somebody that moving forward, we’re really hoping we can be a consistent lob threat for us.”

Hardy also praised Kessler’s work on the glass against Indiana, an area where the Jazz have struggled so far this season.

“Tonight was also his best game of the season defensive rebounding because his instinct is to go protect the rim and alter shots, and he can be out of position to rebound at times,” Hardy said. “I think he picked his spots well, when they go challenge and when to focus on rebounding.”

Watch & Listen

The game is being televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The game will also being streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

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Vanderbilt Sets Career High In First Half As Jazz Trail By Nine