UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Center Walker Kessler Throws Down Early Dunk On Thunder

Mar 5, 2023, 5:28 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm

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.

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.

The Jazz vs. Thunder game is broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass, and KSL Sports Zone.

Jazz vs. Thunder

Previous Meeting

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.

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.

RELATED: Ryan Smith: I Want Jazz Fans To Watch Games ‘In Any Format’

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.

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.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Tennessee F Dalton Knecht

Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own a top-ten pick.

10 hours ago

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson celebrates an in-season tournament win highlights...

Chandler Holt

Jazz Notes Player Highlights: Utah’s Other Veterans In 2023-24 Season

Although Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton stole the show for Utah, some other Jazz veterans played key roles in the 2023-24 season.

11 hours ago

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers...

Ben Anderson

Donovan Mitchell Denies Frustration With Cavaliers Teammates

It's been a rough 24 hours for Donovan Mitchell and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates after being eliminated from the playoffs.

1 day ago

Bronny James Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft...

Chandler Holt

Utah Jazz Reportedly Have Interest In Working Out, Drafting Bronny James

According to Yahoo Sports, the Utah Jazz have expressed interest in working out Bronny James and selecting him in the 2024 NBA Draft.

2 days ago

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best In Draft?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

4 days ago

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Mock Draft Round-Up: Post Lottery

The NBA Draft is just over six weeks away and with the lottery in the rearview mirror, it's officially mock draft season for the Utah Jazz.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jazz Center Walker Kessler Throws Down Early Dunk On Thunder