Jazz Snap Losing Streak, Beat Knicks Despite Injuries

Dec 13, 2023, 10:29 PM | Updated: 11:07 pm

Collin Sexton #2 of the Utah Jazz...

Collin Sexton #2 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The shorthanded Utah Jazz got a balanced attack throughout their roster and beat the Knicks 117-113 to snap a three-game losing streak.

Collin Sexton scored 26 points, Lauri Markkanen added 23 in his return from an eight-game absence, while Simone Fontecchio and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15 points each.

The Jazz were playing without starters John Collins (illness) and Jordan Clarkson (hamstring).

A Different Star Every Quarter

The Jazz had one of their more balanced efforts against the Knicks with a new player carrying the load offensively in each quarter.

Fontecchio carried the Jazz in the first quarter scoring eight points on 2-5 shooting while grabbing four rebounds.

Markkanen dominated the second quarter scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting including 2-4 from downtown.

Walker Kessler was the Jazz’s best player in the third quarter scoring seven points, grabbing one rebound, and blocking one shot, but causing far more problems for the Knicks defensively than the box score would imply.

In the fourth quarter, it was Horton-Tucker who scored 13 points on 6-9 shooting as the Jazz fended off a late Knicks run.

The strong performances throughout the roster allowed Sexton to buoy the Jazz throughout the night as he scored 26 points in his first start of the season.

“Collin is a really good scorer,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “He’s dynamic when he gets the ball in space and he’s a really good driver.”

With Jordan Clarkson out for two weeks, and Keyonte George missing the majority of the game with an ankle injury, the Jazz needed a balanced attack and got it from a host of role players as Markkanen was restricted in his playing time.

If the Jazz hope to stabilize their rocky start to the season they’ll have to get this type of effort every night from players throughout the roster, especially if they continue to lose bodies at the rate they have to begin the year.

The Latest On Keyonte George’s Injury

Keyonte George left the game four minutes into the first quarter and was quickly ruled out with what the Jazz called a left foot injury.

After the game, Hardy clarified that it was an ankle injury for George, and that the Jazz would be getting an MRI for the rookie in the morning.

“It’s not fun when the trainer comes and tells you he’s done for the night,” Hardy said. “Because then you want to ask a bunch of follow-up questions but you don’t really have that time.”

Though there won’t be an official update until tomorrow at the earliest, Sexton offered a promising update on George after the game.

“He got some good results earlier, so it’ll definitely be fine.”

George will not travel with the team to Portland for tomorrow night’s game as they await the results of an MRI.

Jazz ’80s Legends Share Memories

In honor of the 50th anniversary season of the franchise, Jazz legends Darrell Griffith, Rickey Green, and Jeff Wilkins traveled to Salt Lake City to be honored, and to sit in on an alternate broadcast on Jazz+ to discuss their time with the team.

Before Wednesday’s game, the three players sat down for an informal conversation about the Jazz, how they joined the roster, and what they remembered about their time in Utah.

What first stood out was the camaraderie between the three players who still laughed about their time in Utah, both good and bad.

Green and Griffith both referred to Wilkins as “Franchise” as they sat down to talk with the media. When asked why they called him Franchise, both players said that if they ever passed him the ball, they knew they weren’t going to get it back, so he must be the franchise piece (he wasn’t).

Griffith recalled his rookie season in Utah being the least favorite of his entire basketball career because of the Jazz’s 28-54 record. Considering he was named Rookie of the Year, it’s a testament to his competitive spirit that he played so well, yet was unhappy with the team’s performance.

Both Green and Wilkins had joined the Jazz at a time when it seemed their professional basketball careers could be coming to an end, at least in the United States.

The two players had been competing in the Continental Basketball Association for the Hawaii Volcanos, and later, the Billings Volcanos after the franchise moved to Montana.

(Note, Volcanos is spelled incorrectly, though the team never fixed the typo during its four-year existence.)

Former Jazz head coach and lead executive Frank Layden traveled to scout the Volcanos in Billings where he found both Green and Wilkins and brought them to Utah.

Green went on to play eight seasons with the Jazz and was named to the 1984 All-Star team, while Wilkins played all but 27 games of his six-year NBA career in Utah.

All three players lauded Layden for turning the franchise around.

“Frank came in and his first game he said ‘three passes, then shoot,'” Griffith remembered. “He wanted us to get into the mindset of, ‘I’m going to play to your skill.’ Up and down the floor, how are you going to slow [Green] down with the ball? So he just kind of opened us up and then let’s play.”

The trio also credited the additions of two other legendary Jazz players for helping turn the franchise into a perennial winner.

“The addition of Mark [Eaton] helped, and then John Drew,” Griffith said. “Then Frank and Phil [Johnson], they just put it together we just bought into the concept.”

After nine consecutive losing seasons, Griffith, Wilkins, and Green helped lead the Jazz to the playoffs in 1983-84, a spot the franchise would remain for the next 20 years.

Nightly Awards: Jazz vs. Knicks

The “Plus-Minus Didn’t Lie” Award:

Goes to Jazz rookie Taylor Hendricks who was an impressive +25 in just 20 minutes on the floor.

Though Hendricks’ 2-7 shooting performance wasn’t pretty, his impact on the game was easy to recognize, especially in the second quarter.

The Jazz held the Knicks to just eight points while Hendricks on the floor in his first stint, while the rookie made several highlight reel plays.

First Hendricks attacked an overly aggressive Knicks closeout for an easy dunk. On the next possession, he blocked an RJ Barrett dunk in transition, then grabbed on offensive rebound on the other end leading to a Collin Sexton three.

Hendricks didn’t have his best statistical game of the season, but his minutes were a big reason the Jazz beat the Knicks.

Utah Jazz’s Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Trail Blazers on Thursday at 8 pm MST in Portland. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow 

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.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Taylor Hendricks Thrives In Jazz Win Over Raptors

Taylor Hendricks had the best performance of his basketball career against the Toronto Raptors scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

9 hours ago

Utah Jazz Houston Rockets Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Are Jazz Good At Developing Players?

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

1 day ago

Utah Jazz rookie Kyle Filipowski...

Ben Anderson

Kings Embarrass Jazz In Second Vegas Summer League Game

The entire Utah Jazz roster struggled in game two of the Vegas Summer League as they were drubbed by the Sacramento Kings 82-70.

2 days ago

Utah Jazz Sumer League Brice Sensabaugh finger injury...

Chandler Holt

Utah Jazz Forward Brice Sensabaugh Suffers Torn Finger Tendon

Brice Sensabaugh will miss the rest of the Vegas Summer League after suffering a torn extensor tendon tear in his left middle finger.

3 days ago

Utah Jazz rookie Cody Williams at the Summer League...

Ben Anderson

Jazz Rookies Shine In First Vegas Summer League Game

The Utah Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks to open the Vegas Summer League behind breakout performances from Cody Williams and Kyle Filipowski.

4 days ago

Utah Jazz In-Season Tournament Court...

Ben Anderson

Jazz Learn In-Season Tournament Grouping For 2024-25 Season

The Utah Jazz learned their grouping for the second-annual NBA In-Season Tournament ahead of the 2024-25 season.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey 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!

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.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Jazz Snap Losing Streak, Beat Knicks Despite Injuries