Jazz Guard Collin Sexton Finds Rookie Walker Kessler For Early Dunk
SALT LAKE CITY – Jazz guard Collin Sexton hit a rolling rookie center Walker Kessler at the basket for a first quarter dunk against the Raptors.
The Jazz (27-29, 11th in West) are north of the border to face the Toronto Raptors (26-30, 10th in East) on Friday, February 10.
Roll tide 🤝 War eagle
Take Note pic.twitter.com/sKC48xYM6k
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 11, 2023
After exploding with a first step to create some space, Sexton fooled half the crowd when he appeared to pull up for a mid-range jumper. Before the Raptors had time to adjust, Sexton lobbed a perfect pass to the rim, finding a rolling Kessler for an easy dunk.
The 7’1 center out of Auburn has taken over the starting center roll for head coach Will Hardy. Kessler averages eight points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in 53 appearances.
Toronto jumped out to an early lead but the Jazz recovered to keep it close, trailing 34-28 after one quarter.
First-time All-Star Lauir Markkanen and rookie guard Ochai Agbaji lead Utah with five points apiece. Pascal Siakam leads all scorers with 14 points in 10 minutes played.
RELATED: After Trade Deadline, Jazz Shorthanded In Toronto
Raptors Looking To Extend Win Streak
Despite heavy rumors that they may be sellers at the trade deadline, the Raptors turned out to be buyers as they reacquired former University of Utah star Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs.
Welcome back, fam!⁰⁰ #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/oBDSfS9Mt0
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 9, 2023
Toronto sits in the 10th seed in the East and is 4.5 games back of the Miami Heat for the sixth seed and a guaranteed playoff spot.
The Jazz represent the Raptors’ second opponent in a five-game homestand that runs through the All-Star break.
Is Russell Westbrook In Utah A Possibility?
Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said the team doesn’t have any definitive plans for the recently acquired Russell Westbrook, but that the high-profile guard is open to playing for the team.
The Jazz acquired Westbrook along with Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones before Thursday’s trade deadline along with a lightly protected first-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Lakers.
RELATED: Utah Jazz: Russell Westbrook ‘Open To Being Here’saysThe team plans
“We are open to all sorts of possibilities with him,” Zanik said. “And he has been very positive on being here in Utah and we’ve been very open to the possibilities of him.”
The @utahjazz are working with Russell Westbrook and his agent on several possibilities with the team.
Jazz say he's open to different roles. The team's plan is to give him time to sort the situation out.
Says Westbrook is open to being here.#takenote | @kslsports
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) February 10, 2023
The guard has averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds coming off the bench this season for the Lakers.
Despite his strong averages, Westbrook is shooting just 41 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the three-point line.
He also has a long and difficult history in the state of Utah including a meme-worthy locker room exchange with local media and an incident in which he received racially insensitive taunts from a since-banned Jazz fan.
Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors Broadcast
The Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors game 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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