UTAH JAZZ

Consecutive Walker Kessler Dunks Help Jazz Close Gap Against Sixers

Jan 14, 2023, 8:08 PM
Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler fights New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance for the ball....
Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler fights New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance for the ball (Credit: Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)
(Credit: Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Walker Kessler is morphing into a legitimate starting NBA center right before their eyes as the rookie center improves by leaps and bounds each game.

The Jazz (22-23) are hosting the Philadelphia 76ers (25-16) at Vivint Arena on Saturday, January 14.

Trailing 53-37, Kessler found himself in the post with a smaller De’Anthony Melton on his back. Kessler fended off Melton with one arm and caught a pass from Jordan Clarkson with the other before finishing over Melton with a dunk. Kessler hit a free throw to finish the three-point play.

On the Sixers next possession, Kessler stepped in front of a Tyrese Maxey pass to start a Jazz fast break. Kessler sprinted the length of the floor in time to take a feed from Nickeil Alexander-Walker for his second straight dunk.

Kessler is a perfect 5-of-5 from the field with 11 points, six rebounds, a steal and a block.

Utah trails the 76ers 66-56 at halftime.

RELATED: Markkanen Has Bizarre Scoring Night, Pushes Jazz Past Magic

Ochai Agbaji Showing Signs of Development

For the first time this season, Walker Kessler had some competition from a fellow Jazz rookie for the most recognition over the last week.

RELATED: Agbaji Showing Promise As Jazz Season Develops

Ochai Agbaji had by far his best stretch of the season after being inserted into the regular rotation last week against the Houston Rockets.

Over his last three games, Agbaji’s stats have varied widely, scoring a career-high 19 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting against the Chicago Bulls 7-7 shooting against the Chicago Bulls, before a scoreless outing in Sunday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

But beyond his scoring, Agbaji found a way to impact the games in his last two outings notching seven combined rebounds and recording his first multi-assist game.

Additionally, he still makes some defensive lapses that are rarely seen at the NBA level.

Delta Center Returns

On Saturday morning, the Smith Entertainment Group announced that the Utah Jazz home arena was reverting to the Delta Center for the first time since 2006.

Though the arena name will be rebranded as the Delta Center beginning in July of 2023, Vivint will remain an integral partner for the Jazz. The tech giant announced it had extended its partnership with the Jazz through 2030.

RELATED: Delta Center Name Recalls Top Utah Sports Memories

“The new agreement between Vivint and the Jazz, which will go into effect on July 1, 2023, contains a number of significant provisions, including Vivint retaining the rights to its acclaimed courtside suite as well as its current ticket packages throughout the arena,” the company announced in a release.

RELATED: Delta Center Name Set To Return In July

“Vivint will also continue to have a meaningful presence inside the arena with in-game promotions and advertising packages, on-court digital signage, as well as social media activations and other various public promotional activities.”

The Delta Center naming rights with coincide with the 50th season of basketball for the Jazz.

Utah Jazz vs. Philadelphia 76ers Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers 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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Consecutive Walker Kessler Dunks Help Jazz Close Gap Against Sixers