CHANDLER HOLT

Jazz Frontcourt Connects On First-Quarter Alley-Oop

Mar 22, 2023, 7:41 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2023, 9:30 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Jazz seven-footers Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler stole the show in the first quarter against Portland with a fastbreak alley-oop.

Markkanen threw up a lob to the rookie to give him his first points of the game.

Kessler’s second basket came just minutes later off of another alley-oop from fellow rookie Ochai Agbaji.

Utah held a lead for almost the entire first quarter. Markkanen led all scorers with 8.

Kessler got started on the defensive end early with a block on Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic.

Nurkic was the leading scorer for the Trailblazers in the first.

The Jazz have dug out surprising wins in their last two outings beating the Boston Celtics on Saturday before downing the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

The Trail Blazers meanwhile own the league’s longest losing streak at six games.

Markkanen Back As Jazz Host Blazers

The Jazz will see All-Star Lauri Markkanen return to the lineup on Wednesday after the forward missed Monday’s game with a sore back.

Rookie Ochai Agbaji stepped up in Markkanen’s absence scoring a career-high 27 points on 8-14 shooting including 6-10 from the three-point line.

Reserve guard and former Trail Blazer Kris Dunn also had his best game in a Jazz uniform scoring 18 points and dishing out 10 assists in 31 minutes of the bench.

The Jazz will still be without Jordan Clarkson who is missing his seventh consecutive game with a finger injury while Collin Sexton is missing his 12th straight game with a hamstring injury.

Trail Blazers Have Lost Six Straight

Despite entering the second half of the season with an eye on the playoffs, the Trail Blazers ook bound for another high lottery pick.

Portland is just 3-10 since returning from the All-Star break despite a tremendous run from guard Damian Lillard.

The former Weber State superstar is averaging 35.5 points, 7.2 assists, and 6.5 rebounds over his last 12 outings.

The Trail Blazers are 2-2 since the All-Star break when Lillard scores at least 41 points, and 1-6 when he falls below the mark.

Portland will be without starters Anfernee Simons (foot) and Jerami Grant (quad) when they face the Jazz.

Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers will tip off at 7 pm MT in Salt Lake City. 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.

Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.

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Jazz Frontcourt Connects On First-Quarter Alley-Oop