Jazz Center Walker Kessler Throws Down Early Dunk On Thunder
SALT LAKE CITY – Jazz rookie Walker Kessler threw down a nice slam dunk during the opening minutes of Utah’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder hosted the Jazz at Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Sunday, March 5.
With 9:46 to go in the opening quarter, Kessler spun to the rim before jamming the ball through the cylinder for Utah’s first points of the game.
Kessler’s dunk cut OKC’s lead to 4-2.
rim#TakeNote | @WalkerKessler13 pic.twitter.com/tCRYURW2Bn
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 6, 2023
Midway through the quarter, the Jazz trailed the Thunder by double-digits. During his first seven minutes on the hardwood, Kessler had two points on 1-2 field goals. He added one rebound and two blocks.
This season, the Auburn product is averaging 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 0.4 steals in 21.9 minutes per contest.
Tough start for the @utahjazz who trail the @okcthunder 18-6.
The Jazz are 2-10 from the floor while OKC is 4-8 from three. #TakeNote
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 6, 2023
The Jazz vs. Thunder game is broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass, and KSL Sports Zone.
Jazz vs. Thunder
The Jazz suffered their second straight loss to a team near the bottom of the NBA standings thanks to a turnover-prone outing against the Thunder.
The Thunder hosted the Jazz for the first of back-to-back meetings on Friday, March 3.
Utah lost to OKC, 130-103.
The Jazz were without guards Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton. Sexton missed his fourth consecutive game with a hamstring injury and Clarkson was out of the lineup with a sprained thumb for the second straight contest.
The Jazz quickly found themselves down double-digits only a few minutes into the contest. OKC jumped out to an 11-point lead before the game’s first timeout thanks to five makes from three-point range.
Walker Kessler scored Utah’s first six points of the evening and recorded a pair of blocks during the opening quarter.
Utah was shooting over 70 percent from the field and regrouped to bounce back on the scoreboard after the timeout.
LISTEN LIVE: @utahjazz vs. @okcthunder on https://t.co/4kU961UAvR and the @KSLSportsZone.#TakeNote https://t.co/c5DjOWCaHk pic.twitter.com/LO5hivtzTw
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 6, 2023
Solid defense wasn’t how one would describe the first 12 minutes of game time.
OKC led Utah at the end of the quarter, 34-29. The Thunder shot a blazing 52.0 percent overall and went 7-14 from beyond the arc. The Jazz shot 68.8 percent from the field, including 3-8 from downtown. However, Utah’s eight turnovers proved to be a setback.
Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers.
The giveaways continued for the Jazz during the final quarter of the opening half. The Jazz had nine turnovers during the second quarter, bringing their total to 17 for the game.
The Thunder opened the half with a nice run and built their lead back to double figures.
Utah continued to shoot decent with the exception of three-point attempts.
However, the turnovers gave Oklahoma City 13 more field goal attempts than Utah.
Oklahoma City hit 13 triples in the half and took a 15-point lead, 67-52, into the locker room at the break.
Rookies Walker Kessler, Ochai Agbaji, and Simone Fontecchio each scored eight points in the half to lead the Jazz.
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The Jazz came out of the break and got their NBA All-Star going after a six-point first half. Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 11 points in the quarter.
Kelly Olynyk poured in nine points to help out the frontcourt attack. Kris Dunn and Simone Fontecchio contributed off the bench and combined for 22 points through three quarters of action.
Familiar faces pregame pic.twitter.com/tafc8vwBhy
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 5, 2023
Despite the positives, the Jazz only one the quarter by two points. Utah’s 12 blocks were the highlight on defense but Oklahoma City put up almost 100 points during the opening 36 minutes of the contest.
The Jazz trailed 97-84 going into the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma City went on an 18-8 run to begin the final quarter and the scoring spurt put the game out of reach for Will Hardy’s team.
With five minutes left to play, Hardy pulled his starters.
Former Lone Peak High standout Frank Jackson closed out the game for the Jazz, in what was his first time playing for the franchise after signing a 10-day contract.
The Jazz finished the game shooting 48.7 percent overall and 31.0 percent from three. The Thunder shot 50.0 percent from the field, including 39.5 percent from distance. OKC hit eight more triples than Utah. The Jazz committed 25 turnovers.
Markkanen scored 20 points to lead Utah. Aaron Wiggins had 27 points off the bench to lead the Thunder.
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