Scoot Henderson and the Portland Trail Blazers rolled into Salt Lake City in a similar situation to the Jazz—they were 6-12, struggling to find an identity, and headlined by some interesting young players, including a dynamic rookie guard.
The Blazers jumped out to an early 8-2 lead Thanks to Shaedon Sharpe and Toumani Camara. By the 5:52 mark, though, John Collins and Keyonte George helped the Jazz take the lead.
Keyonte George with his first bucket of the night pic.twitter.com/GjGI7McgOs— Jazz Lead (@JazzLead) December 3, 2023
The teams continued to exchange blows, and at the end of the first quarter the Jazz found themselves on the wrong end of a 24-21 game.
Things remained tight to start the second quarter until THT, Keyonte George, and Walker Kessler stretched the lead to 11.
Man look how much separation Keyonte George gets from this Walker Kessler screen— Jazz Lead (@JazzLead) December 3, 2023
Leads to a nice pullup jumper with A LOT of space pic.twitter.com/Azk4VgGhPd
The lead ballooned to as many as 16 points, but the Jazz closed the quarter up 12, having outscored the Blazers 35-20 in the period.
THT, who has been taking care of the ball remarkably well lately, and Colin Sexton led the bench unit in the third, and they maintained the lead throughout the third. The Blazers went on a 10-2 run headlined by Scoot Henderson, but the Jazz were able to stretch the lead back to ten points by the time the 3rd quarter horn sounded.
The fourth quarter got chippy, as Jeramy Grant, Omer Yurtseven, and THT all ended up on the floor after taking hard hits. The Jazz looked a little disoriented at times, the Blazers started hitting shots, and by the 5:09 mark they had drawn to within two, 94-96. Taylor Hendricks scored his first NBA points and looked pretty good doing it!
A tech on Matisse Thybuylle gave the Jazz three free throws, and they took advantage. Keyonte George slashed to the rack, Simone Fontecchio made a shot, and Shaedon Sharpe hit a long two (which was later reassessed to be a three), making the score 102-99 in favor of the Jazz at the 3:19 mark. Walker Kessler checked in, secured an offensive rebound, and had a nifty putback. After that, Sharpe and Kessler traded buckets, one being an absolute baptism by Sharpe. Sometimes that happens as a rim protector, which we know from watching years of Rudy Robert.
With one minute to go, the Jazz were clinging to a 3-point lead. Malcolm Brogdon bumped John Collins, which shouldn’t have been called a foul but was, and the Blazers took it out of bounds. On the inbounds, Shaedon Sharpe found Malcolm Brogdon, who nailed a 3-pointer over Keyonte George to tie it up with 39.9 left. The Jazz had the opportunity to go 2-for-1, and gave that up to the Blazers when Colin Sexton turned it over. They couldn’t convert, though, and the ball ended up in Sexton’s hands again. Camara fouled him on the way to the rack, and it would have been called a) at any other point in the game or b) if Sexton were a star. But it wasn’t called, and the Delta Center faithful buckled up for five minutes of free basketball.
Keyonte George and Shaedon Sharpe traded buckets, Omer Yurtseven had an emphatic dunk, and Camara banked in a 3 as the shot clock expired, (or did he?) which might have sealed Utah’s fate had John Collins not put one in at the other end. The Jazz had the chance to take the lead at the 1:59 mark, but Omer Yurtseven couldn’t convert on the other end.
Toumani Camara absolutely dump trucked Keyonte George and scored. No call. But the error they did catch? Camara’s three was a shot clock violation, which erased a three-point Blazer lead and tied the game. On the inbound, Malcom Brogdon bullied John Collins but missed the easy bunny, and Sexton was fouled on the rebound. The next sequence was the Omer Yurtseven Show. He had a dunk on the offensive end and a big defensive stand on defense.
OMER YURTSEVEN BIG OVERTIME BUCKET pic.twitter.com/4Ub6J5PJ9n— Jazz Lead (@JazzLead) December 3, 2023
John Collins grabbed the board, was fouled, and hit two huge free throws to put the Jazz up for good. Malcom Brogdon attempted a layup, but was greeted by none other than, guess who, Omer Yurtseven.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, but there were several bright spots. Omer Yurtseven had a solid game, Walker Kessler is looking more and more like himself, Colin Sexton did a fantastic job leading the bench unit, and watching Keyonte George drive and distribute is still an absolute joy.
The team now gets a few days of much-needed rest, and will travel to Dallas to take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.