It was a great showing from multiple players, but the stat Jazz fans should be happy about is the lack of turnovers. Utah has been the worst team in the league, turning the ball over at around 18 per game but had just 12 tonight as a team. The Blazers aren’t a great team, but it’s a strong showing for the Jazz, who are looking more and more like a team that can give a lot of teams trouble.
There are two major changes for the Jazz that have coincided with the team looking better. The first is that Keyonte George is playing point guard now and he had another great game leading the offense with 15 points, 7 assists, and 2 turnovers. His ability to run the offense like this as a rookie is truly remarkable and should not be taken for granted.
Jordan Clarkson has turned things around. Clarkson had another nice night tonight with 30 points while shooting a scorching 13/19 from the field. Clarkson had just 1 turnover tonight, which is also huge. It’s probably not a coincidence that Clarkson is doing this with Keyonte George on the floor. With George on the floor, there’s more space and the offense is flowing allowing Clarkson to get easier looks than before. This won’t flow quite as much against better teams, but it looks mostly sustainable that they can continue to be a high-level scoring duo.
Lauri Markkanen did Lauri Markkanen things. Even though he struggled for most of the game, Markkanen had a flurry of scoring in the 4th quarter to end with 21 points and 9 rebounds. It’s a big deal that the Jazz can win like this despite Markkanen having a down game. It also says a lot about Markkanen that a “down” game is one where he scores 21 points.
Finally, it’ll be interesting to see how things go with Walker Kessler back. What will the lineup changes be? What will he look like with Keyonte George on the floor? Seeing how Keyonte George has helped things, it’s safe to assume it will go well. The question will be who leaves the starting lineup? Likely it will be Ochai Agbaji. But Agbaji is also taking things to another level since joining the starting lineup and his athleticism, shooting, and defense is showing up more and more. It’ll be a shame if he’s not getting more minutes in the future because he helps this Jazz team in a lot of ways that don’t always show up on a stat sheet.