UTAH JAZZ

Clarkson, Markkanen, Jazz Catch Fire For Jazz In 3Q Against Heat

Dec 31, 2022, 8:56 PM
Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz-NBA...
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) shoots during an NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. The Jazz lostย 116-111. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz caught fire in the third quarter, particularly from the three-point line against the Miami Heat on Saturday night at Vivint Arena.

Sparking the hot shooting was Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen. It started with a 9-0 run that gave the Jazz an 80-79 lead with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter. Markkanen hit a three-pointer to start the run, followed by a bucket and a free throw by Kelly Olynyk, and a triple from Mike Conley.

Collin Sexton hit a three to put the Jazz up by three with 5:12 left in the third. Following an 8-0 run by the Heat, Clarkson and Markkanen each answered with a three-pointer. Those two triples eventually sparked a 9-0 run for the Jazz as Sexton hit a midrange jumper plus three free throws.

The Jazz scored 35 points in the third quarter and held a 98-96 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Markkanen Answers Criticism Against Sacramento

The leading narrative coming out of the Jazz’s loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday was the lack of impact Markkanen had in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz’s leading scorer entered the final period with 29 points but went scoreless over the final 12 minutes on 0-6 shooting.

Though Markkanen led the Jazz in fourth-quarter field goal attempts, they were mostly passive looks including three missed three-pointers.

Against Sacramento, Markkanen erased that talking point.

The 26-year-old scored 11 of his 36 points in the fourth, including seven points in the final 2:01 of the game to give the Jazz the lead and a chance to win the game.

Ultimately, Markkanen’s effort wasn’t enough, but it was the type of performance the forward will have to turn in consistently if he wants to be the man for the Jazz.

It felt good coming out of my hand,” Markkanen said of his final miss. “I’d made couple of shots before that, but it just didn’t go my way today.”

But, it’s what Markkanen did before the final possession that should be encouraging to Jazz fans.

The Jazz big man hit a nine-foot runner off an assist from Jordan Clarkson, knocked down a three with 1:03 left to play despite having missed his first six attempts of the game, and then hit a difficult 12-footer after creating space off the dribble with 36 seconds left to play.

At seven-feet tall, with his athleticism and shooting ability, Markkanen shouldn’t struggle to create shots for himself late, even if he hasn’t done it often in the NBA.

The Jazz’s third straight close loss was difficult, but Markkanen’s growth against the Kings was a promising sign.

Utah Jazz and Miami Heat Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Miami Heat game is being 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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Clarkson, Markkanen, Jazz Catch Fire For Jazz In 3Q Against Heat