A couple weeks ago the Jazz had just beaten Detroit in OT and lost to Boston by 29 points. They’d been playing well, but the conventional wisdom was that their upcoming schedule—which included Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Denver, and Toronto—would be rough.
The conventional wisdom was partially correct. Those games were indeed rough—for Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Denver, and Toronto. It’s not as though the next four games are easy either, but the Jazz are on a roll and show no signs of slowing down.
This game began inauspiciously enough, with both teams trading buckets and more than a few bricks. The standout player of the quarter was Kelly Olynyk, who did his best Kevin McHale impression at the 1:14 mark:
The two teams were fairly close stats-wise after one. The Raptors hit 5 threes. The Jazz hit 4. The Raptors shot 38.9% from the field to the Jazz’s 39.1. Each team had four turnovers.
To open the 2nd Quarter, the teams exchanged 7-2 runs. Scottie Barnes bullied John Collins in the post and looked unstoppable. But Lauri and Colin Sexton led an 8-0 run, Jordan Clarkson got hot from distance, the Raptors collectively went cold, and the Jazz built the lead to 64-47.
The beginning of the 3rd Quarter was the Simone Fontecchio Show. He drilled a pair of 3s and played stifling defense. After a couple minutes had passed, the rout was on, with Toronto never coming closer than a 15-point deficit. Keyonte George got some serious burn time, as did the player who was drafted three spots ahead of him, Gradey Dick. Dick did not contribute much, having no points and snagging a couple rebounds.
The fourth quarter was all garbage time, but Keyonte George continued to dazzle the Delta Center faithful with a powerful dunk:
Luka-at-Home, Ömer Yurtseven, Brice Sensabaugh, and Taylor Hendricks all played and scored 10 buckets between them. However, for the fans in attendance the most exciting part of the second half was arguably this:
AND YOU GET FREE CHICKEN!!!— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 13, 2024
With both teams’ benches empty, the remaining minutes of the 4th weren’t all that interesting. Mostly just a bunch of jackpotting around, to use an old Jerry Sloan expression. Still, the team can and should feel good about this win, and will hopefully use the momentum to maintain their winning ways.
While this was an important win, the Jazz don’t have much time to revel in this one, as they have a date with the slumping Los Angeles Lakers tomorrow night.