UTAH JAZZ

Rookie Walker Kessler Rejects RJ Barrett During Jazz-Knicks Game

Feb 11, 2023, 6:15 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 4:42 pm

SALT LAKE CITYJazz rookie Walker Kessler swatted a shot by RJ Barrett during Utah’s road game against the New York Knicks.

The Knicks hosted the Jazz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, February 11.

With 5:07 remaining in the first quarter, Kessler came over to help Talen Horton-Tucker on defense. As Kessler arrived, Barrett attempted a jump shot that was met with a massive rejection.

Kessler’s block kept New York’s lead at 16-13.

During the summer of 2022, Barrett was reportedly involved in trade talks between the Knicks and Jazz. Ultimately, the forward signed an extension and has remained in the Big Apple.

At the end of the quarter, the Jazz trailed the Knicks, 33-28. During his first nine minutes on the hardwood, Kessler was 0-1 shooting but had four rebounds and a block.

This season, the Auburn product is averaging 8.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 0.4 steals in 20.8 minutes per contest. He’s played in 55 games for the Jazz this season.

RELATED: Collin Sexton Converts Tough And-One In First Quarter

Utah’s game against New York is broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass, and KSL Sports Zone.

Jazz vs. Knicks

The Jazz face the Knicks on Saturday night with both teams on the second night of back-to-back games.

The Knicks had won two straight and three out of four before falling to the Philadelphia 76ers on the road 119-108 on Friday.

New York sits in the seventh seed in the East just behind the Miami Heat for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot in the conference.

The Knicks added guard Josh Hart from the Portland Trail Blazers at Thursday’s deadline in exchange for little-used Cam Reddish, Ryan Arcidiacono, Svi Mykhailiuk, and a lottery-protected first-round pick.

The Knicks are expected to see Hart make his debut on Saturday, while the Jazz could have both Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones in uniform.

The two new Jazzmen joined the team in New York after clearing physicals early Friday.

“They’ll both have opportunities for them to get to know us and us to get to know them and see how we can help,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said. “[We will] see if there’s an environment here where there’s something going forward.”

Toscano-Anderson averaged 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 30 appearances with the Los Angeles Lakers this season while Jones added 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 22 games.

The Jazz fell to the Knicks 118-111 in November despite 27 points from Kelly Olynyk. Jalen Brunson scored 25 points and had eight assists for the Knicks.

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Rookie Walker Kessler Rejects RJ Barrett During Jazz-Knicks Game