UTAH JAZZ

Alexander-Walker, Horton-Tucker Set Jazz Highs In Loss To Nuggets

Dec 10, 2022, 10:14 PM | Updated: 10:18 pm
DECEMBER 10: Talen Horton-Tucker #0 of the Utah Jazz shoots a layup and scores in the second half d...
DECEMBER 10: Talen Horton-Tucker #0 of the Utah Jazz shoots a layup and scores in the second half during an NBA game at Pepsi Center (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz were down five rotation players, but Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Talen Horton-Tucker pushed the Denver Nuggets to final minute of the game.

Ultimately, the Jazz inexperience showed without their primary closers on the roster, but the reserves showed promising growth.

The Jazz fell 115-110 for their second loss in as many nights.

Makeshift Backcourt Shows Promise

With Conley, Clarkson, and Sexton off the floor both Alexander-Walker and Horton-Tucker are getting opportunities to prove that they deserve to be the fourth guard in the Jazz rotation, and both showed well for stretches against the Nuggets.

Alexander-Walker scored 27 points, a personal high in a Jazz uniform on 9-16 shooting, including 5-10 from the three-point line to go with three rebounds and two assists.

He also played 39 minutes, the second-highest total of his career, with much of his time on the floor spent defending Jamal Murray.

That’s a difficult task, and Alexander-Walker held his own proving to be a consistent offensive weapon and a competent two-way player.

He did however commit six turnovers, and Murray finished with 30 points on an efficient 13-19 shooting, despite Alexander-Walker’s best efforts.

“Most of his turnovers are passing turnovers,” Hardy said of the fourth-year guard. “So I think he’s doing a pretty good job making the right read More times than not.”

There’s still a steep uphill climb for the guard to prove he can be a consistent NBA player, but his odds of sticking in the league long-term look better today than they did after a tough close to the season last year.

Horton-Tucker also set a personal best in a Jazz uniform scoring 19 points on 8-18 shooting, to go with seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocked shots.

He did however knock down just 1-7 three-point attempts and is just 9-38 (23 percent) in his last seven outings.

Horton-Tucker is nearly unstoppable when he decides to attack the rim. His combination of strength and tight ball handling all him to get to the hoop at will.

Unfortunately, his ability to knock down difficult jump shots seems to keep him from and his willingness to hoist threes detracts from his efficiency too often at this point in his career.

With Conley slowly working his way back from injury, Alexander-Walker’s more natural playmaking abilities seem to have given him the edge in the rotation at the moment.

But, Horton-Tucker just turned 22 at the end of November, and his talent is obvious every time he takes the floor.

For now, the two players will likely continue to swap spots at the back end of the Jazz guard rotation, but both have the potential to be key cogs in the team’s future.

Agbaji, Bolmaro Get Extended Run

Down several key players both Ochai Agbaji and Leandro Bolmaro got significant playing time with Agbaji playing nearly 20 minutes, and Bolmaro setting a season-high with 17 in his just his fifth appearance this season.

Agbaji has shown promise as a shooter over his last two games knocking down 3-6 three-point attempts, including 2-5 against Denver.

The late lottery pick has good size for his position, excellent athleticism, and was a knockdown three-point shooter at Kansas.

So far, Agabji’s game hasn’t been helped by the added spacing in the NBA, and he needs to focus on making an impact with his shooting, rebounding, and transition opportunities.

He’s yet to show he’s a threat with the ball in his hands, but his recent shooting is a good sign for his future. If he can prove to be a weapon on the defensive end, it’ll go a long way toward seeing the floor more regularly.

Bolmaro has a difficult spot on the Jazz roster behind the aforementioned veterans in the Jazz backcourt, plus both Alexander-Walker and Horton-Tucker.

The Jazz reportedly didn’t pick up the option for his contract next season, therefore his development may not be as crucial as some others on the team, but there’s no question he’s got significant talent.

The Argentine guard is a very active defender, and his ability to probe offensively with his dribble is above the NBA standard, but he’s simply not a threat to score at all at this point in his career.

Bolmaro finished 0-1 from the floor against Denver and seemed to have little interest in proving that his work developing his jump shot is ready for a real NBA game.

After the game, Hardy implied that fans may see more of Bolmaro going forward.

“His energy from the second he steps on the floor is contagious to the group,” the Jazz coach said. “I think he’s somebody for everybody to pay attention to moving forward.”

Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans will tip off at 7 pm MT on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City. 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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Alexander-Walker, Horton-Tucker Set Jazz Highs In Loss To Nuggets