All-Star Lauri Markkanen Goes Back Door For Throwdown

Feb 8, 2023, 7:48 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 10:46 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Rudy Gay combined with All-Star Lauri Markkanen for a nifty backdoor cut leading to a dunk against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Jazz (27-28) are trying to avoid a letdown as they battle rampant trade rumors less than 24 hours from the NBA trade deadline. They host the Minnesota Timberwolves (29-28) on Wednesday night.

Gay caught a pass at the left elbow with his back to the basket. Markkanen immediately cut from the left wing, blowing by Anthony Edwards and creating enough throwdownay to bounce a perfect pass to the cutting seven-footer. Markkanen finished the play with a two-handed throw down.

Markkanen and Collin Sexton led the Jazz with eight points apiece in the opening quarter. Edwards led all scorers with 14 points while adding four assists and two rebounds.

A fifth-year forward out of Arizona, Markkanen has been a revelation for the Jazz this season after being acquired as part of a trade for Donovan Mitchell in September. He is averaging 24.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game with the Jazz.

RELATED: Reports: Jazz Acquire Westbrook, Send Conley To Wolves

Jazz Look To Break Losing Skid

Wrapping up a five-game homestand, the Jazz will also be looking to end a brief two-game losing streak.

Jazz coach Will Hardy said he was frustrated with the team’s effort in Monday’s loss.

“This is the first game all season where I’ve just felt disappointed in our focus” Jazz coach Will Hardy said.

RELATED: Jazz Lack Focus In Loss To Mavericks 

“There’s always nights where the bounces don’t go your way, you don’t make shots, the other team plays great and there was a little bit of that in tonight’s game, but I felt like collectively we just did not have the necessary focus and attention to the little things.”

Trade Rumors Swirling As Deadline Looms

Trade rumors and uncertainty may have contributed to the Jazz’s poor play, but this is not an excuse as Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley, among others, have seen their names bandied about in trade conversations.

Less than an hour before tip-off, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported a deal had been reached between the Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Jazz is sending Conley to Minnesota while the Timberwolves will ship guard Russell to the Lakers. Westbrook will be headed to the Jazz along with a lightly protected 2027 first-round pick.

Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski reported the deal shortly before the Jazz faced the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

According to Wojnarowski, the Jazz will also acquire Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones.

The Jazz will ship Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Minnesota who will also get a second-round pick in the deal.

The NBA trade deadline is set for Thursday, February 9 at 3 pm ET.

Jazz Acquiring Westbrook

The Jazz is acquiring Russell Westbrook in the trade, though the future Hall of Fame guard is expected to be waived by the team shortly after the deal is finalized.

Westbrook is averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds for the Lakers this season coming off the bench.

Despite his strong averages, Westbrook is shooting just 41 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the three-point line.

Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves game is 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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All-Star Lauri Markkanen Goes Back Door For Throwdown