The Utah Jazz keep rolling along. Shooting guard Malik Beasley came off the bench to score 29 points, while Jordan Clarkson chipped in 28 to propel Utah to a 118-113 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anfernee Simons led Portland with 23 points in a losing cause.
Utah was in control for the majority of the night and in a position to put the game away with 5:56 to play, up by nine. But the pesky Trail Blazers proceeded with an 11-1 run to take their first lead of the second half, 106-105.
The Blazers' advantage was short-lived as the Jazz finished the game with a 13-7 run on their way to their second win in as many nights.
What did we learn in Utah’s league-leading 12th win of the year? Let’s break it down.
Jazz are Resilient
Utah built a 19-point lead in the third quarter only to watch it slip away with less than three minutes left in the game. It’s a script that Jazz fans know all too well from the Donovan Mitchell-led teams, but not so fast — this year's squad has proven it can dig deep and grind out these games for wins.
Offensively, the 2022-23 Jazz can beat you in a plethora of ways compared to the isolation-ball fans were accustomed to last year in the closing minutes.
Mike Conley's Knee Injury a Concern
Conley injured his knee in the third quarter and wasn’t able to return. First-year head coach Will Hardy went with Talen Horton-Tucker as his replacement rather than backup point guard Collin Sexton.
‘TNT’ gives the Jazz more size defensively, but the Jazz definitely missed Conley in their half-court sets on offense. If Utah’s veteran floor general can’t go Monday, expect Utah to play a positionless style of basketball on offense, with Horton-Tucker getting the starting nod.
Beasley Deserving of Extension
The journeyman sharpshooter acquired in the Rudy Gobert trade is becoming quite the story for the Jazz. Beasley trumped his 27-point game against the Phoenix Suns with a 29-point performance on 10-for-18 shooting and six three-pointers.
Beasley was mentioned in the trade rumor mill all summer, but the Jazz are in a great position to offer an extension considering they control his option year in 2023-24. Any future rumors about Beasley being traded should be dismissed.
Clarkson Dominates Closing Minutes
When the game appeared to be slipping away, it was Clarkson that put the Jazz on his back. With under two minutes left in the game, the former Sixth Man of the Year scored eight points on three consecutive possessions to put the game to bed.
At a point where the momentum shifted to Portland, Clarkson wanted the ball and was decisive in his decisions. The timing couldn't be better for a player who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.