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The Jazz beat the Clippers 120-118 in a Salt Lake City thriller

Lauri Markkanen was a beast, Jordan Clarkson was clutch, and the Jazz took their first W of the season

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz held off the LA Clippers in a nail-biter. Utah took a lead early in the first quarter and held it for much of the game.

After a lackluster game one, Lauri Markkanen reminded the world why he was an All-Star starter last year. Markkanen put up a monster double-double with 35 points and 12 rebounds. He was dominant in the paint and beyond the line. When ‘The Finnisher’ leads, the team follows.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers back into the game in the third quarter. George, in particular, was a thorn in Utah’s side with 36 points and 15-15 free throws. When the Clippers took a late three-point lead, it seemed like the Jazz might be out for the count.

From that point onward, Utah and LA traded baskets. Kelly Olynyk hit two back-to-back huge threes to retake the lead. Kris Dunn made his first two baskets of the evening after a rough start. But Leonard, George, and the Clippers wouldn’t go away. Paul George hit a massive three-point jumper with 1:06 left in the game, putting the Clippers up by one.

The Jazz desperately needed a bucket. Jordan Clarkson drove, took off, and missed a floater. John Collins grabbed the offensive board and put up a layup. He missed. He grabbed it again, and the ball went back outside to Olynyk, who slung it in the Markkanen. He missed, too. Markkanen outjumped the Clippers to tip the ball. That missed. Markkanen tipped the ball twice more before it finally found its way home. The Jazz led 117-116 with 46 seconds left.

Unfortunately, Paul George did what he does and baited another foul. George splashed both free throws. The Clippers took a 118-117 lead.

Utah drew up a play for Lauri Markkanen, but it was broken up. Who do the Jazz go to when a play is broken? One man covered head to toe in ink and pure, unmatched confidence. Jordan Clarkson looked the star-studded Clippers in the face, rose for a patented Jordan Clarkson audacious three-pointer, and nailed it.

28 seconds left. Kawhi Leonard isolates on Clarkson. He can’t find space. He passes it away. He asks for it right back and takes the best shot he can get. Missed. The putback effort from Russell Westbrook is short. Markkanen rebound. Game over.

Player of the game

Lauri Markkanen was a superstar all game long. 35 points on 68% true shooting, with 12 rebounds and three assists. He was a force. Markkanen is already proving that last season was no fluke.

Honorable mentions:

  • John Collins: 13 points, 12 rebounds, five offensive rebounds
  • Kelly Olynyk: 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block
  • Talen Horton-Tucker: 13 points, eight assists, three steals

Next game:

The Utah Jazz will head to Phoenix for the second night of the back-to-back to take on the Suns. The game will begin at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow.