Jazz Blow Golden Opportunity Against Warriors
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz blew a prime opportunity to become only the third team to win a road game against the Golden State Warriors this season.
The Warriors were down three starters, and the Jazz owned a double-digit second-half lead but were unable to seal the deal in the clutch falling 112-107.
Lauri Markkanen scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Jazz while Jordan Poole scored 22 to lead the Warriors.
Jazz Give Game Away In Fourth Quarter
With the Warriors playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins, the Jazz should not have been the team that struggled to make plays in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz led by six entering the fourth but immediately surrendered the lead thanks to two Golden State threes on consecutive possessions to the quarter.
Then, after rebuilding a 101-97 lead with 7:21 left in the game, the Jazz went scoreless over the next 2:55 as the Warriors strung together a 10-0 run.
The Jazz trimmed the deficit to one with 1:37 remaining but missed their final four field-goal attempts of the game, and shot just 1-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute as the game slipped away.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) December 29, 2022
Despite the poor shooting, Jazz coach Will Hardy said he wasn’t bothered with how his team played.
“We moved the ball, we got good shots,” Hardy said. “Their physicality has bothered us in the past and I thought tonight we rose to the occasion and really played a good game with the exception of not making any shots in the fourth quarter.”
The Jazz shot just 4-26 in the fourth quarter, including 1-11 from three in the loss.
Markkanen Struggled Late
Though Markkanen led the Jazz with yet another impressive scoring and rebounding night, his absence in the fourth quarter glaring.
After shooting 10-16 through the first three quarters, Markkanen missed all six of his fourth quarter attempts despite playing the final 12 minutes of the game.
The Warriors had no answers for Markkanen from the opening tip as the Finnish forward scored 14 first quarter points, and upped his total to 23 at the half.
Markkanen appeared to take a knee to the thigh early in the game but seemed unbothered by it through the first three quarters.
I see the complaints about Lauri Markkanen not touching the ball for the Jazz enough here in the fourth, but also he's got to go et the ball.
Can't be wasting fourth quarter possessions in the corner.
You're the guy, have to go be the guy.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) December 29, 2022
However, in the fourth quarter, Markkanen’s shooting abandoned him which made it difficult for him to score.
“We play a team style of basketball and we’re not going to ever make the game about one player,” Hardy said of Markkanen. “I thought we put Lauri in a lot of actions — that doesn’t always necessarily mean you get the ball. Lauri is not an off-the-dribble isolation player.”
Markkanen’s ability to be the leading man for the Jazz in the coming seasons may be dependent on whether he can develop as a ball-in-hand scorer, especially late in games.
The forward is the Jazz’s leading scorer in the first, second, and third quarters this season, but falls behind Jordan Clarkson in the fourth.
Clarkson is a more willing shot-creator off the dribble than Markkanen, which is largely the reason he’s been the team’s top option in the fourth quarter.
While Markkanen has all the makings of an All-Star this season, there’s room for growth late in games.
The Jazz will look to avoid a three-game road sweep when they face the Sacramento Kings on Friday at 10 pm. 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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