The Utah Jazz has a quick turnaround Thursday as they travel to Portland to face the Trail Blazers. 24 hours after their narrow win at home against the New York Knicks, Utah will hope to pick up a win against the young and hungry Blazers. Both these teams are trying to stay close to the play in range as we enter the 2nd quarter of the season so it should be a competitive contest.
The Jazz were happy to welcome Lauri Markkanen back to the lineup Wednesday, but they will not be able to lean on him for this game as he will sit out with hamstring soreness again. The Jazz have won two of the first three games against the Blazers this season, but Portland had several good performances from their guards in a loss to the Clippers on Monday. Utah will need to ensure that Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe are contained, or it could get ugly fast. Jazz Guard Collin Sexton was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time against the Knicks and he did not disappoint. It is unclear whether he will start against the Blazers, but his defense can be infectious and if he continues to produce on the offensive end then it gives the Jazz a nice boost in scoring and facilitating. Utah will also be without rookie sensation Keyonte George, Jordan Clarkson and John Collins tonight.
Although there are truly no moral victories in sports, the Blazers played well in their previous game vs the Los Angeles Clippers and almost snapped their three-game losing streak. Besides the stellar play of Simons and Sharpe, rookie Scoot Henderson with 19 points on 50% shooting from the field. “I thought Scoot was incredible…… He gave us some great pace” said Portland head coach Chauncey Billups. The Blazers have been shorthanded recently and Forward Jerami Grant will miss his 4thstraight game. However, all star guard Malcom Brogdon and Center Deandre Ayton are both questionable, if they can play it would give a big boost to the Blazers.
Were haven’t even reached the new year yet and this will be the last regular season meeting between these two teams, so savor it one last time until next year. Utah is looking for some consistency from game to game and now that Lauri Markkanen has returned, hopefully they can start to look a little bit more like the scrappy team that we know they can be. GO JAZZ!!
When: Thursday, December 14th, 8:00 PM MT
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
TV/Streaming: Jazz+, KJZZ
Radio: KSL 1160 AM & 102.7 FM
The biggest news for this one is that Lauri Markkanen will be out as well as Keyonte George, but we just found out that Keyonte George avoided serious injury and will likley be back sometime in the near future.
Jazz Injury Report:— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 14, 2023
OUT - Jordan Clarkson (right hamstring strain)
OUT - John Collins (illness)
OUT - Keyonte George (left foot soreness)
OUT - Lauri Markkanen (left hamstring injury management)
OUT - Luka Samanic (illness)
OUT - Brice Sensabaugh (G League)
OUT - Johnny… pic.twitter.com/QA812YdyuP