Clarkson Scores 10 Third Quarter Points To Erase Raptors Lead
SALT LAKE CITY – Jordan Clarkson had a quiet first half against the Toronto Raptors, but responded with a 10 point third quarter.
Clarkson had just six points over the first two quarters but found his rhythm in the third scoring 10 points on 4-8 shooting including two made three-pointers.
The high-scoring guard’s biggest basket was a three to beat the shot clock with just under a minute left in the third to rebuild the Jazz lead to six.
ball movement is 🔑 #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/g3i8Ai4VuX
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 2, 2023
The Jazz led the Raptors by as much as 14 in the first half but saw the Raptors take a two point lead with eight minutes left in the third.
Clarkson’s hot shooting helped the Jazz erase the Raptors momentum and rebuild their lead.
After three the Jazz led the Raptors 96-92.
Jazz Look To Stay Competitive In West
Despite three days off the Jazz actually climbed in the Western Conference Standings since their last win, moving from 10th to ninth due to owning the tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Jazz entered their game against the Raptors trailing the Minnesota Timberwolves by a half game, but Minnesota extended that lead to one game with a win over the Golden State Warriors earlier Wednesday night.
The NBA Trade Deadline is two weeks from today, and the @utahjazz have been involved in numerous rumors.
Check out our running Utah Jazz Trade Deadline landing page with all the rumors you need to follow for each Jazz player. #TakeNote https://t.co/NlPGgoRpdY
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) January 26, 2023
On the flip side, the Jazz can ill afford a long string of losses. The Oklahoma City Thunder sit 1.5 games back of the Jazz while the Portland Trail Blazers are just a half game back of the Jazz after beating the Memphis Grizzlies.
Toronto marks the second game in a five-game homestand which concludes next Wednesday against the Timberwolves.
Raptors Have Trade Deadline Looming
Like the Jazz the Raptors find themselves in an awkward space trying to compete to qualify for the playoffs, while also being heavily discussed in trade rumors.
Toronto is one game back of the 10th-seeded Indiana Pacers in the East and is very much in the hunt to make the postseason play-in tournament.
However, it’s no secret that All-Stars Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam have been shopped around, as well as dynamic wing OG Anunoby.
Anunoby is not in uniform against the Jazz as he missed his third consecutive game with a wrist injury.
The Raptors would face long odds of making a deep playoff run even if they were to qualify for the play-in tournament due to the top-heavy balance of teams in the Eastern Conference.
Both the Jazz and Raptors are expected to be active ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.
Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.
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