In the NBA equivalent of a heavyweight fight, with both teams exchanging blow after blow, the Jazz refused to go down.
Jordan Clarkson was sensational, knocking down big shot after big shot to keep Utah alive. But Kevin Durant’s three-pointer with 18.1 seconds left was the shot the Jazz couldn’t overcome in the end as they fell 131-128 to Phoenix on Friday night.
“That was a very hard fought game against a good team,” head coach Will Hardy said. “If nothing else, it shows our group that we are capable of playing with anybody. … For us to get to where we’d like to be with our team and at a place where we are winning at a high level, we have to grow in an execution standpoint to close a game.”
“As a coach you hate moral victories, but these types of games do show your team you’re not that far away,” Hardy said. “The teams that make the growth are generally the ones who can dig in on the little things because that’s the difference between winning and losing. … I’m proud of the way our team fought.”
2.) Markkanen Block
Throughout his time in Utah, Lauri Markkanen has been known for his ability to put opposing players on posters. The 7-footer is much stronger and more athletic than given credit for, and it’s shown on numerous dunks throughout his time in Salt Lake City.
On Friday night, Markkanen put his athletic skillset to a different use — much to the chagrin of Phoenix’s Devin Booker.
Markkanen met Booker at the rim and rejected his would-be dunk, thrilling the crowd at Delta Center. Even better, the block led to a fast break opportunity where Sexton finished the layup on the other end.
THT Rises Up
If, for some shocking reason, that basketball doesn’t work out for Horton-Tucker, it’s safe to say he might have a career in volleyball.
Horton-Tucker had one of the best blocks of the early season when he rejected Phoenix’s Jordan Goodwin on a fastbreak dunk attempt. It wasn’t just that Horton-Tucker had the block, it was how he did it — swinging his arm back to swat the block into the stands.
Horton-Tucker showed afterward that his basketball career is going just fine. Following the block, he knocked down a three, hit a pair of free throws, and threw a lob to John Collins for a dunk on Utah’s next three possessions