UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Drop Both Games In Mini-Series With Oklahoma City Thunder

Mar 5, 2023, 8:19 PM | Updated: Mar 6, 2023, 1:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz dropped their third consecutive game with a 129-119 loss to their Western Conference rival Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder swept the Jazz in their two-game series as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander returned to the Oklahoma City roster with a dynamic 38-point outing.

Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points to lead the Jazz and set a new career-high with 13 assists.

Kris Dunn Continues To Impress

Fresh off of signing his second 10-day contract, guard Kris Dunn put together another strong outing for the Jazz.

Dunn finished with 17 points, two rebounds, and two assists while shooting 7-11 from the floor and 3-4 from the three-point line in 27 minutes off the bench.

The veteran guard signed his first 10-day deal with the Jazz coming out of the All-Star break after the team lost Russell Westbrook and Leandro Bolmaro to buyouts.

Dunn was immediately inserted into the lineup and has done nothing but prove he belongs on an NBA roster.

The former lottery pick has scored in double-digits in all five of his games with the Jazz this season including his new season-high against the Thunder on Sunday night.

“I think he’s done a better job every game of staying within the flow of what we’re doing,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “I felt like early on when he did look to score it sort of felt like he was breaking off factions, which is totally natural like he didn’t really know fully what we were doing.”

Perhaps Dunn’s most impressive showing with the Jazz has been his vastly improved three-point shot.

The guard has knocked down 6-14 attempts in his brief stint with the Jazz, good for 42 percent.

That’s a significant uptick from his last stop in the NBA when he attempted only 11 threes as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, and knocked down just one in 14 games.

“I think he’s getting more and more comfortable on the offensive end understanding our system — where his opportunities to score are, what the reads are that he has to make as a primary ball handler to get his teammates involved,” Hardy said of Dunn’s growth.

The NBA only allows teams to sign a player to two 10-day deals during the season, which makes it likely that the Jazz will try to sign Dunn for the remainder of the season when this contract expires next week.

Jazz Close To Top 10 Pick

The Jazz entered the two-game series with the Thunder owning the ninth-seed in the West and 2.5 game lead over their Northwest Division foe.

After dropping two straight to OKC, the Jazz have slipped to 10th in the West and into an even tie with the 11th-seeded Los Angeles Lakers who beat the Golden State Warriors earlier Sunday.

The Jazz also sit just a half-game ahead of the Thunder and Trail Blazers who are tied at 30-34 on the season.

If the regular season were to end today, the Jazz would find themselves playing in New Orleans against the Pelicans as the lowest seed in the end-of-season Play-In Tournament, and would need to win two road games to earn the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

However, when including the Washington Wizards who own a 30-33 record in the Eastern Conference, the Jazz sit just a half-game ahead of what would be the eighth-worst record in the NBA and a 20.2 percent chance of winning a top-four pick in this June’s draft.

According to Tankathon, the Jazz own the third most difficult schedule in the NBA over the final 17 games, while FiveThirtyEight projects the Jazz to finish with the 12th-worst record in West at 38-44 and the ninth-worst record in the league.

The Jazz and Thunder will meet again on April 6 in a game that will have significant implications on the final standings.

Jazz Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks will tip off at 6:30 pm MT. The game will be 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.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Drop Both Games In Mini-Series With Oklahoma City Thunder