UTAH JAZZ

‘Life Finds A Way’, Jordan Clarkson Works Free For Ridiculous Jumper

Jan 28, 2023, 7:38 PM | Updated: 7:41 pm

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Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) celebrates the team’s win over the Houston Rockets at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. That’s how Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. felt after becoming Jordan Clarkson’s latest victim.

The Jazz (25-26) are hosting the Luka Dončić-less Dallas Mavericks (26-24) at Vivint Arena on Saturday, January 28.

With Utah leading 21-14, Clarkson went to work at the top of the key. A couple of dribbles later, the former NBA sixth man of the year looked trapped. Clarkson found himself off-balance, in the paint and looking for an escape. Rather than find an open teammate, the ninth-year guard pivoted and faded away to create space, knocking down a 15-footer.

Clarkson, Collin Sexton and All-Star hopeful Lauri Markkanen lead the Jazz with seven points apiece as they lead the Mavericks 34-23 after one quarter of play.

RELATED: Dončić Out, Olynyk Returns As Jazz Host Maverick

Mavericks Missing Main Man Dončić

Depending on who you ask, it could be a good thing or a bad thing that the Mavericks will be without the services of NBA MVP front-runner and second-leading scorer Luka Dončić when they meet on Saturday night.

Mavericks superstar Luka Dončić was named an All-Star starter on Thursday but left Dallas’s game against the Phoenix Suns with an ankle injury early in the first quarter. X-rays of the ankle were negative.

Dončić has been something of a one-man band in Dallas this season for a team coming off of a Western Conference Finals appearance last year. Just behind Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid at 33 points per game, the fifth-year player out of Slovenia is second in the league with 10 triple-doubles.

The Mavericks will also be without forward Christian Wood (thumb) who had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Dallas’s last meeting with the Jazz.

Walker Kessler, Ochai Agbaji Hit Rookie Wall In Week 14

As he has each of the first 13 weeks of the season, Walker Kessler remains the key talking point for the Jazz in youth development.

The standout center climbed to number three in the latest rookie rankings by the NBA and has established himself as the team’s starting center for the foreseeable future. At practice Friday, Will Hardy said Kessler was likely to stay in the starting lineup, despite the injured Kelly Olynyk nearing his return.

That alone has made this season a success in regard to youth development. With that said, Kessler has not had his strongest week as a Jazzman.

The center averaged 7.0 points and 6.7 rebounds over the last three games and blocked a total of two shots, one of his least productive stretches of the season.

The Jazz’s other key rookie, Ochai Agbaji, also had a down week, failing to create any meaningful statistical production in two of the last three games, bookending an eight point, four rebound performance in a blowout win over the Hornets.

RELATED: Agbaji Showing Promise As Jazz Season Develops

As the team enters the true dog days of the NBA season, it’s no surprise the first-year players would struggle with the seemingly endlessly long schedule leading up to the All-Star break. But with just one game over a six-day stretch, both should have ample rest to bounce back next week.

Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks 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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‘Life Finds A Way’, Jordan Clarkson Works Free For Ridiculous Jumper