Poor Execution Dooms Jazz Against Trail Blazers

Dec 3, 2022, 10:34 PM
Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz drives against Jerami Grant of the Portland Trail Blazers...
Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz drives against Jerami Grant of the Portland Trail Blazers

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz had their chances, but poor execution late in the fourth quarter doomed them against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Anfernee Simons scored 45 points, but it was the Jazz self-inflicted mistakes that proved too much to overcome in the loss.

Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points to lead the Jazz while Lauri Markkanen added 21 on 4-6 three-point attempts.

Jazz Don’t Attempt Shot In Final 62 Seconds

While the Trail Blazers aren’t a particularly strong defensive team, owning the seventh-worst defensive rating in the NBA, but their toughness frustrated the Jazz in the final minute.

Kelly Olynyk gave the Jazz a 111-110 lead on a tough fade-away jump shot with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter, but it proved to the last field goal attempt for the team in the narrow loss.

The Jazz got a stop on the ensuing Trail Blazers possession, but Markkanen committed a backcourt violation trying to pass the ball to Olynyk who was slow to cross the half-court line.

An unnecessary Clarkson foul gave the Trail Blazers a one-point lead at the free-throw line before Markkanen again turned the ball over under the hoop attempting to drive past Jusuf Nurkic.

The Jazz trapped Simons on the next possession forcing the ball into the hands of Jerami Grant, at which point Will Hardy began to ask Jarred Vanderbilt to commit a foul with 12 seconds left to play.

Instead, Grant dribbled the ball for six more seconds before the Jazz fouled him on a shot attempt, leaving themselves only one opportunity to tie the game, rather than the multiple looks they could have had if they’d had fouled earlier.

With the Jazz down three, the Trail Blazers forced a third turnover as Jordan Clarkson was stripped on a game-tying three-point attempt, effectively ending the game.

Without Mike Conley in the lineup for a seventh straight game, and playing on the second night of a back-to-back, it’s easy to offer excuses on why the Jazz lost the game, but even with that adversity, the opportunity was there to get a win.

With Olynyk lying on the floor under the Trail Blazers basket, Hardy should have called a timeout before Markkanen’s first turnover with 36 seconds left to play, and the ball in hand with a one-point lead.

Markkanen simply failed to control the ball as he attacked the rim with 26 left to play, and Vanderbilt’s late timing to foul Grant prevented the Jazz from getting multiple chances to tie the game, ultimately leading to Clarkson’s ill-fated three-point attempt.

Conley should return to the lineup shortly, and that will help with the team’s late-game execution, but Saturday’s loss was a difficult one for the young Jazz roster, and one they should learn from.

“Where there were mental mistakes and those things down the stretch, we’ll eliminate those,” Sexton said. “Tonight we’re going rest up and watch film tomorrow and learn from it and move on to the next game.”

Vanderbilt Is Back To Hitting Threes

Jarred Vanderbilt had his best offensive performance in a Jazz uniform against the Trail Blazers scoring a season-high 16 points, shooting 6-8 from the floor including 4-4 from the three-point line.

It’s a remarkable turn for Vanderbilt who prior to his season with the Jazz had made only three three-pointers during his first four seasons in the NBA.

What’s most impressive is that Vanderbilt has found his three-point shooting groove once again, despite a difficult stretch in November.

After knocking down 6-11 three-point attempts over the first 10 games of the season, the Jazz forward went cold connecting on just 1-9 over his next 10 outings.

Over the final four games of his icy stretch, Vanderbilt attempted only one three in nearly 100 minutes on the floor.

Now, over his last four appearances including his outing against Portland, Vanderbilt has made 5-6 from the three-point line and looks more willing than ever to shoot.

Based on his rebounding, playmaking (four assists against Portland), and his hustle, Vanderbilt has a safe spot in the NBA for years to come.

But, if he can continue to knock down the three-point shot at a reliable rate, even on only an attempt or two per game, his value will skyrocket.

Every NBA roster needs a player that can impact the game without needing the ball in their hands, but when they do have possession, they have to be a threat to do something.

Prior to this season with the Jazz, Vanderbilt had been a non-factor with the ball in his hands, but he’s showing tremendous promise on how that might change. That’s a good sign for the Jazz and his future as a key player in the rotation.

Next Broadcast

The Jazz now have their first three-day break of the season before hosting the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at 7 pm MT. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

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Poor Execution Dooms Jazz Against Trail Blazers