UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Rookie Center Walker Kessler Blocks Shot, Finishes Three-Point Play

Jan 13, 2023, 8:06 PM | Updated: Jan 14, 2023, 1:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –Walker Kessler’s confidence appears to be growing with every game he plays for the Utah Jazz, contributing on both ends of the floor.

The Jazz (21-23) are hosting the visiting Orlando Magic (16-26) at Vivint Arena on Friday, January 13.

After blocking four shots in the first quarter alone, Kessler wasn’t done protecting the basket for the Jazz.

Midway through the second quarter, Kessler blocked a driving layup from Gary Harris, allowing Jordan Clarkson to come down with the rebound. On the other end of the floor, Kessler collected an Ochai Agbaji missed shot, taking it back up for a hoop and a foul. The rookie knocked down the free throw to finish the old fashioned three-point play.

Kessler is 5-of-6 from the field for 11 points, five blocks, four rebounds and two steals in the first half against Orlando.

RELATED: Sexton Likely To Return As Jazz Host Magic

Sexton, Horton-Tucker Return; Conley Out

It will be two players forward, one player back fir the Jazz tonight. Utah expects to have the services Collin Sexton and Talen Horton-Tucker but they will be without Mike Conley as he rests his 35-year-old body.

After missing the last five games due to hamstring injury maintenance, Sexton expects to return to the Jazz lineup against the Magic.

The dynamic sixth man missed seven games after suffering a hamstring strain against the Golden State Warriors on December 7.

Sexton returned for five games late in the month but was shut down by the team after feeling continued discomfort.

“Things that I normally do, whether it’s pressing the ball, ball picking up full [court] here and there, it just felt a little off,” Sexton said. “I didn’t feel like it was strong enough.”

RELATED: Agbaji Showing Promise As Jazz Season Develops

Sexton hasn’t played since the Jazz’s loss to the Miami Heat on New Year’s Eve but anticipated playing Friday.

“I feel good,” Sexton said. “Back tomorrow — definitely excited to be back on the floor. I feel ready to go.”

Guard Talen Horton-Tucker is also set to return after missing the previous two games.

Starting center Kelly Olynyk will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury, while guard Talen Horton-Tucker is listed as questionable after missing the last two games with an ankle sprain.

Orlando Magic (16-26, 13th in East)

Tonight’s game is the fourth of a five game road trip for the Magic.

The Magic opened their current road trip with a rare win over the Golden State Warriors at Chase center before downing the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

Orlando is led in scoring by rookie top-overall pick Paolo Banchero who averages 21.2 points per game. Second-year wing Franz Wagner is the Magic’s second-leading scorer at 20.2 points per contest.

After missing four games due to a non-Covid illness, breakout center Bol Bol was cleared to return to the floor against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. However, the team opted to give him another night’s rest.

Utah Jazz vs. Orlando Magic Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic will tip off at 7 pm MT 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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