UTAH JAZZ

Markkanen, Collins Carry Jazz Past Wizards

Jan 25, 2024, 8:20 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2024, 11:57 am

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz coasted to an easy 123-108 over the Washington Wizards to snap their three-game losing skid.

Six Jazz players scored in double-digits led by Lauri Markkanen who scored 29 points.

The Wizards got 26 points from Kyle Kuzma in the loss.

Jazz Frontcourt Carries Team Over Wizards

After back-to-back below-average performances from Markkanen, the forward found his rhythm against the Wizards scoring 29 points on an efficient 11-20 shooting night including 6-12 from the three-point line.

Markkanen had just 33 points total over the Jazz’s last two losses, including an 11-point, 4-15 shooting performance on Tuesday in New Orleans.

The Finnish forward was more aggressive against the Wizards scoring 13 points in the first quarter to set the tone for the final 36 minutes.

Not only did Markkanen score, but he found ways to impact the elsewhere. The 26-year-old grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists tying his season in the victory.

Markkanen’s big night was aided by John Collins’ most productive game in a Jazz uniform.

The first-year Jazzman scored 22 points and grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds to outduel the Wizards undersized frontcourt.

“His activity tonight, his energy level, screening, rolling, getting on the glass — 22 and 16 with seven offensive rebounds, I thought that he was a huge reason why we won tonight’s game,” Hardy said.

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Collins’ 16 rebounds are his most in a game since he grabbed 18 as a member of the Atlanta Hawks on February 6, 2018.

“He’s maybe the best guy on our team at just snatching the ball with two hands up above the rim,” Hardy added. “He’s aggressive going to the glass [and] he rebounds with force.”

Jazz Right Some Wrongs Against Wizards

The Jazz were far from perfect against the Wizards, but despite an uneven performance they cleaned up a handful of issues from their previous losses.

After allowing the Pelicans to score 28 second-chance points, the Jazz held the Wizards to only seven second-chance points on five offensive rebounds.

The Jazz in turn scored 18 points off their 15 offensive rebounds.

In New Orleans, the Jazz were outrebounded 57-38, one of their most lopsided margins of the season.

In Washington, the Jazz won the rebounding battle 52-35, getting back to their reputation as one of the league’s best teams on the glass.

And finally, after allowing their last three opponents to average 16.7 made threes on a 43 percent success rate, the Jazz held the Wizards to 7-30 from downtown, the third-lowest percentage by an opponent this season.

There is still room for improvement after allowing the Wizards to score 18 fastbreak points on 16 giveaways, but they did record 34 assists including four players with five or more.

With their next game in Charlotte, the Jazz should have another opportunity to clean up their mistakes as they continue their push in the Western Conference playoff race.

Nightly Awards: Jazz vs. Wizards

The “Stealing Rest” Award: 

Goes to Will Hardy who managed to hold both Collin Sexton and Kris Dunn to just 16:52 of playing time in the win.

Sexton has averaged nearly 28 minutes per game since moving into the starting lineup in mid-December, so finding nights where the Jazz can win games, and he doesn’t have to redline his engine will be beneficial over the second half of the season.

The same can be said for Dunn whose 666 minutes are the most he’s played in a season since before the pandemic.

Dunn and Sexton resting allowed rookie Keyonte George to record 31 minutes off the bench. George’s shooting slump continued as he connected on just 1-6 shots from the floor, but he recorded a team-high eight assists, his most in a game since December 6.

Utah Jazz Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Hornets on Saturday at 5 pm MST in Charlotte. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.


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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 on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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