Jazz Hot Streak Continues With Clarkson Triple-Double

Jan 1, 2024, 10:40 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2024, 2:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Jordan Clarkson snapped the Utah Jazz’s near-15-year triple-double drought in their 127-90 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Clarkson scored 20 points, handed out 11 assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds to record the Jazz’s first regular triple-double since Carlos Boozer last did it on February 13, 2008, against the Seattle SuperSonics.

Luka Doncic scored 19 points and handed out 14 assists in the loss.

The Jazz have now won five of their last six games and eight of their last 11.

Jordan Clarkson Snaps Jazz Triple-Double Drought

Though the Jazz were hunting rebounds for Clarkson late in the fourth quarter to snap the drought, his triple-double was largely organic based on his strong play throughout the game.

The guard had six points and four assists after one quarter, added four points and two assists in the second, five points, two assists, and three rebounds in the third, before finishing the triple-double with five points, four rebounds, and three assists in the final period.

“It means a lot, honestly,” Clarkson said. “The longest, most senior player here, and breaking records, seeing all the teams and guys, it’s just crazy.”

Clarkson’s triple-double is only the 25th in Jazz history, and the the third from a player coming off the bench.

Mark Eaton was the last Jazz reserve to record a triple-double as a non-starter having done so in 1983 when he scored 12 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked 12 shots.

While several players have flirted with a triple-double since Boozer last did it, Clarkson’s teammates were happy that he ended the drought.

“It’s fitting for JC to get it,” Walker Kessler said. “I think because he’s the longest-tenured player on Jazz, I mean, he deserves it and so for him to get it we were ecstatic.”

Clarkson is the only Jazz player who has been with the team longer than a season and a half, and is now the only player on the roster who has recorded a triple-double at any point during their NBA career.

“It’s great to see that and obviously great to see that happen for him,” Lauri Markkanen added. “He’s been here for a long time and he deserved it.”

Injuries Have Oddly Benefited Jazz

Though no team is rooting for injuries to their roster, it’s clear the Jazz benefited from a simplified rotation due to the number of bodies missing over the first 35 games of the season.

Yes, the Jazz’s record would be better than it currently is if they hadn’t lost Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and Clarkson for extended stretches this season.

But, they might not have found their recent winning formula had it not been for those injuries simplifying Will Hardy’s rotation.

“I think sometimes when you’re forced to do things, it can definitely reveal solutions that you wouldn’t have maybe gone to,” Hardy said.

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Injuries to Clarkson and rookie Keyonte George have led to Collin Sexton’s move into the starting lineup, and before the team’s game against the Mavericks, the Jazz were 7-3 with him as a starter.

“There’s definitely things that we did from a lineup standpoint that maybe weren’t on the bingo card at the beginning of the year because we had some injuries come up,” Hardy said.

Now, not only has Sexton made a convincing case to keep the job even with Clarkson and George fully healthy, but his 23.1 point, 4.5 assist averages during the stretch may reveal his value as one of the Jazz’s long-term building blocks.

Those forced adjustments have also allowed veteran Kris Dunn to find his rhythm as a starter alongside Sexton, while moving second-year center Walker Kessler to the bench.

As a result, the Jazz have seen their defensive rating climb from 26th in the NBA over the first 23 games of the season to 12th since December 13.

“I think it’s just created a level of buy-in from the team,’ Hardy added, “every night is different, and whoever takes the floor, we’ll do what we have to do to try to win.”

Night Awards: Jazz vs. Mavericks

The “Radical Plus-Minus Reversal” Award:

Goes to Walker Kessler who has now had a positive plus-minus in nine straight games, after doing so just once in his first nine games of the season.

Kessler was a staggering +37 against the Mavericks, recording 11 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in 27 minutes off the bench.

“He’s found a good rhythm with the groups that he’s played with,” Hardy said. “Plus-minus is not just because of him, but I think he provides a whole different element for us when he checks in the game from a defensive standpoint. And on the offensive end just because of his size, the offensive rebounding and finishing around the basket has been tremendous.”

Utah Jazz Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday at 7 pm MST in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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 Hot Streak Continues With Clarkson Triple-Double