Kelly Olynyk Fires Pass Ahead Of Suns’ Defense, Jordan Clarkson Scores

Nov 17, 2023, 10:11 PM

SALT LAKE CITYJazz guard Jordan Clarkson scored an easy bucket after getting behind the defense during the second half of Utah’s game against the Phoenix Suns.

The Jazz hosted the Suns at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, November 17.

With 3:16 remaining in the third quarter, Olynyk caught the Suns sleeping after Phoenix turned the ball over on the baseline. The forward fired a pass across the court to a sprinting Clarkson. The guard threw the ball through the cylinder for an easy dunk.

Clarkson’s jam gave the Jazz a 95-91 lead.

The Suns owned a 102-99 lead at the end of the third quarter.

During the first 36 minutes, Clarkson had a team-high 28 points on 11-21 shooting. He added three rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 28 minutes of action. Olynyk had seven points, four rebounds, and six assists in 20 minutes on the floor.

Utah’s game against Phoenix is broadcast on ESPN, Jazz+KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM), KSLSports.com, and the KSL Sports app.

Suns vs. Jazz

Beal Out As Jazz Host Suns In In-Season Tournament

The Jazz will look to stay undefeated in In-Season Tournament play when they host the shorthanded Suns on Friday night.

Utah opened Tournament play with wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers to sit near the top of Group A in the Western Conference.

The Suns are 0-1 in group play with a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on November 10.

Utah Jazz In-Season Tournament Standings

Though unbeaten in In-Season Tournament play, the Jazz are technically in second place in the Group A standings.

In addition to each team’s record during group play, the NBA is also weighing point differential to help determine tiebreakers and wild card winners to advance to the next round of the In-Season Tournament.

The Jazz and the Lakers are both 2-0 in group play, but the Lakers have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 30 points in their wins while the Jazz are +22.

After hosting the Suns on Friday, the Jazz will conclude group play against the Lakers in Los Angeles next Tuesday in their final cup game.

If the Jazz beat both Phoenix and LA, they’ll advance to the round of eight in the tournament. If they lose either, or both, their future will be determined by score differential and the records of other teams in cup play across the league.

RELATED: Jazz Notes Grades: Where Does Utah Fall In Western Conference, NBA?

Jazz Have Improved As They Prepare For Suns

After a clunky 2-7 start to the season, the Jazz have won back-to-back games as they prepare to host the Suns.

The Jazz knocked off the Grizzlies to earn their first road win last Friday before dismissing the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

While neither Memphis nor Portland are near the top of the Western Conference rankings, the Jazz have made significant strides on both ends of the floor in their last two outings.

Over their first nine games of the season the Jazz owned the 17th ranked offense and the 27th ranked defense in the NBA.

In their last two wins, however, the Jazz have had the league’s ninth-best offense and the fifth-best defense.

Before the game, the Jazz announced that rookies Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh had returned to the roster after missing the last five games working with the Salt Lake City Stars in the G League.

Suns Coming Off Timberwolves Blowout

The Suns will travel to Utah after Wednesday’s 133-115 blowout victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Phoenix was planning to debut their big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal against Minnesota, but Beal was ruled inactive shortly before the game due to back tightness.

Sitting at 5-6, the Suns have had a disappointing start to the year with both Booker and Beal missing eight of the team’s first 11 games.

On Friday it was announced that Beal would miss an additional three weeks of games as the team continues to monitor his back injury.

Despite their injuries, the Suns own the 10th-best offensive rating in the NBA and the 15th-best defense.

Booker is listed as probably against the Jazz.

The two teams will meet again on Sunday in Salt Lake City.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Kelly Olynyk Fires Pass Ahead Of Suns’ Defense, Jordan Clarkson Scores