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Jazz Fall to Knicks: Biggest Winners & Losers

There could be trouble in Utah Jazz paradise.
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The Utah Jazz suffered defeat for the third consecutive game, this time at the hands of the New York Knicks, 118-111. Neither team seemed completely comfortable until the fourth quarter when Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson executed multiple key plays down the stretch to seal the New York victory.

Anticipation for this game was high as the Jazz and Knicks were heavily engaged in trade discussions before the season. Unable to complete a cohesive deal that would have sent former Jazz great Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks for a bevy of picks and players, New York chose to sign RJ Barrett to a long-term contract. 

The offseason tug-of-war between the Jazz and Knicks was evident with certain in-game decisions made particularly by New York. Utah, for the most part, seemed to operate under its normal rotational pattern.

The Jazz produced six double-figure scorers, led by Kelly Olynyk's 27 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. The Knicks also produced six double-digit scorers, led by Brunson's 25 points and eight assists.

The Jazz dropped to 10-6 on the season and now possess the No. 3 ranking in the Western Conference standings. Who were the biggest winners and losers from Utah's third straight loss? 

Winner: Jalen Brunson

When the Knicks were unable to obtain Mitchell via trade, the offseason acquisition of Brunson took center stage. On Tuesday night, Brunson did not disappoint and was easily the player of the game, shooting 50% from the field, and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. 

He sported a +9 game rating, clearly out-dueled Mike Conley, and was the main reason the Knicks prevailed.

Loser: Kelly Olynyk

When you look at Olynyk's numbers, some may disagree with him being a 'loser.' But Olynyk committed five fouls, three turnovers, and registered a -7 game rating. 

Olynyk leads the NBA in fouls, and for the third consecutive game, his performance was in the negative. It may be time to make the switch to Walker Kessler as a starter.

Winner: Knicks Front Office

The Knicks are not generally known for making correct team decisions, or positive media takes. But for one night, their executive decisions outshined the Jazz. 

It was also the third loss in a row for the Jazz at the hands of the Knicks, which punctuates their offseason endeavors.

Loser: Collin Sexton

Sexton was awarded 17 minutes but produced a meager three points and registered a -17 rating. It may be possible that the offseason tactics played a role in Sexton's performance.

The Takeaway

Unfortunately, this game was all about the offseason propaganda and not about the players and fans. Even in sports, the business side of organizations tends to rear its head, especially when a team is deemed the winner, and for one night, it was the Knicks.

Utah did receive a solid contribution from Malik Beasley, but it just seemed like for the majority of game, players were on pins and needles and didn't have the fun feel Jazz Nation had come to expect. The Jazz may want to consider making some changes to the starting line-up because they have nothing to lose.

There's no reason to overreact, as the Jazz will look to rebound against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night and move up in the Western Conference rankings.


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