Jazz Players Shine To Open FIBA World Cup Group Play

Aug 25, 2023, 1:16 PM

Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Philippines attempts a three-pointer against Jean Montero #3 of the Domin...

Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Philippines attempts a three-pointer against Jean Montero #3 of the Dominican Republic in the first quarter during their FIBA World Cup Group A game at the Philippine Arena on August 25, 2023 in Bulacan, Philippines. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Despite mixed results, the Utah Jazz saw big outings from their top players competing at the FIBA World Cup.

Four of the five Jazz players competing in the FIBA World Cup saw the floor early Friday morning, while Walker Kessler and Team USA will begin play on Saturday.

Here’s a look at how four Jazz players fared on opening day of the World Cup.

Jazz Players See Mixed Results At World Cup

Lauri Markkanen, Finland Fall To Australia

Lauri Markkanen wasted no time picking up where he left off last season with the Jazz as he scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and handed out four assists.

However, Finland was dominated by Australia 98-72, including solid performances from former Jazzmen Dante Exum who had 10 points and four assists, and Joe Ingles who had 13 points 13 points and four rebounds.

Finland will retake the floor on Sunday at 6:10 a.m. MST when they face Japan on ESPN+.

Jordan Clarkson, Philippines Drop Opener To Dominican Republic

Like Markkanen, Jordan Clarkson had an impressive World Cup debut scoring a game-high 28 points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists.

It was the Dominican Republic, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, that got the 87-81 win over the home team however.

The Filipino roster will face Angola at 6:00 a.m. MST on ESPN+ on Sunday.

Kelly Olynyk Shines In Impressive Canadian Performance

Canada showed it was a force to be reckoned with as they dominated Rudy Gobert and France 95-65.

Kelly Olynyk had 18 points, four rebounds, and two assists for Canada while Gobert recorded just eight points and nine rebounds in the loss.

Canada will face Lebanon on Sunday at 3:45 a.m. MST on ESPN+.

Simone Fontecchio Carries Italy Over Angola

Simone Fontecchio scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds in Italy’s win over Angola to open World Cup play.

The Jazz wing shot 8-14 from the floor including 7-8 inside the arc as Italy made quick work of the Angolans.

Fontecchio and Italy will see the Dominican Republic in their next game on Sunday at 2:00 a.m. MST on ESPN+.

Kessler, Team USA Prepare For New Zealand

Walker Kessler and Team USA will be the easiest team to watch for fans wanting to see members of the Jazz play.

ESPN2 will carry each game for Team USA beginning early Saturday morning and through group play.

Saturday, August 26 vs. New Zealand: 6:30 a.m. MST on ESPN2
Monday, August 28 vs. Greece: 6:30 a.m. MST on ESPN2
Wednesday, August 30 vs. Jordan: 2:30 a.m. MST on ESPN2

Kessler averaged 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in three appearances for Team USA during the World Cup warmup games earlier this month.

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

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Jazz Players Shine To Open FIBA World Cup Group Play