Sexton, George Push Jazz To Win Over Blazers

Dec 2, 2023, 11:18 PM

Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George

SALT LAKE CITY – Collin Sexton and Keyonte George combined for 45 points as the Utah Jazz downed the Portland Trail Blazers in overtime.

Shaedon Sharpe and Malcolm Brogdon scored 25 each for the Trail Blazers but snapped their two-game winning streak with a loss in Utah.

With the win the Jazz moved to 7-13 on the season.

Jazz Collins Takes Step In Right Direction Vs. Blazers

The John Collins experiment in Utah has seen its fair share of pluses and negatives.

Collins has scored in double-digits in 19 of his 20 outings with the Jazz, and has seen his three-point shooting reach a new career-high at 41 percent.

His negatives include some concerningly poor plus-minus numbers, an awkward fit at times in the starting lineup, and a career-low 0.8 assists per game average.

However, against the Trail Blazers, Collins had one of his more productive outings scoring 17 points, grabbing nine rebounds, blocking three shots, and perhaps most importantly, dishing out three assists.

“He’s understanding our system better and better,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said of Collins. “I think he’s understanding the fit with his teammates a little bit better each day.”

Finding the ideal role for Collins will be a learning process as Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk return from injury. The Jazz have also found success defensively with Omer Yurtseven on the floor, which will require more adjustments to the frontcourt.

If Collins can prove he can do more than score on the offensive end, he can still be a valuable player for the Jazz.

“Today was definitely a step in the right direction as far as moving the ball,” Hardy said of Collins.

Taylor Hendricks Sees First Real NBA Minutes

With Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk missing the game with injuries, the Jazz promoted Taylor Hendricks from the G League and gave him the first real rotation minutes of his career.

The rookie finished with five points, two rebounds, and two blocks, but shot just 2-7 from the floor, and 1-4 from the three-point line in 18 minutes.

With Hendricks making first appearance with the Jazz since the season opener on October 25, Hardy offered an insightful look at what rookies can be taught in the G League, and what can only be learned in the NBA.

“The G League is really an opportunity for them to start to understand the NBA game in terms of the pace of play the spacing,” Hardy said. “It’s very different than playing in college.”

Hendricks has had different roles with the Salt Lake City Stars than they he in their freshman season at Central Florida, getting far more face-up opportunities on the perimeter versus primarily playing with his back to the basket as a center.

“My comfort level is pretty high with that,” Hendricks said of his new role. “It’s pretty much all I’ve been doing since I’ve gotten to Utah. So, I’m pretty comfortable with that.”

While Hendricks may be comfortable adjusting to his more perimeter-oriented game in the G League, some things can’t be learned until he gets more repos in the NBA.

“The biggest adjustment for guys, like Ochai [Agbaji] last year, is that every position [in the NBA] is a couple of inches taller than they are in the G League,” Hardy cautioned.

“So that takes an adjustment because the decisions that you make have to be that much quicker when you’re on offense — those gaps and windows are closing a little bit faster. And on defense, you have to be much sharper in your anticipation, because guys can just play over the top of you if you’re late. So that part you can never replicate.”

Nightly Awards: Jazz vs. Trail Blazers

The “The Rookie Has It” Award:

Goes to Keyonte George who had the best game of his career scoring 21 points, grabbing six rebounds, and handing out six assists.

George has had plenty of other strong moments throughout his rookie season to provide confidence that he’s a bona fide NBA player, but he took it to another level against Portland.

After his career-worst 4-17 shooting night against the Minnesota Trail Blazers on Thursday, George didn’t shy away from his scoring responsibilities knocking down an improved 7-17 from the floor, despite shooting just 1-8 from three.

I’m a huge believer in the idea that rookies, given the opportunity, should have breakout games in their first seasons in the NBA simply because their raw talent accidentally shines through.

This wasn’t a breakout game, and it was no accident, but it’s a taste of what is to come.

The “Baptized Twice On A Saturday” Award:

Goes to Walker Kessler who was on the wrong end of back-to-back poster dunks in the fourth quarter against Portland.

First, known dunker Shaedon Sharpe climbed the sophomore shot blocker for an awesome throwdown.

Then, rookie Toumani Camara rose up and hammered on Kessler less than a minute later.

Kessler had a fine night scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds on a perfect 6-6 shooting, but he won’t have fond memories of this game.

Jazz Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Mavericks on Wednesday at 6:30 pm MST in Dallas. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow 

Sign up for the new Jazz Notes newsletter! Receive game updates, exclusive analysis and chances to win Jazz tickets.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

KSL 5 TV Live

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Kalani Sitake Sees Big 12 Experience Helping BYU Football In 2024

BYU football coach Kalani Sitake sees the Big 12 experience being valuable for his program entering year two in the league.

1 hour ago

fences and buildings with an inmate walking on a snowy sidewalk...

Daniella Rivera

New Prison, New Problems: Inside the effort to staff Utah’s new $1 Billion prison facility

Utah's new prison cost taxpayers more than a $ 1 billion, yet a scathing audit shows the new facility has been unsafe and still isn't being used as intended. After being granted unprecedented access, the KSL Investigators go inside the new prison for a look at what's being done to fix its new problems.

2 hours ago


Daniel Woodruff

Utah Legislature approves allowing more children at unlicensed day care facilities

A bill in the Utah Legislature that aims to allow unlicensed providers to care for up to eight children instead of six passed the house and senate. It now awaits Gov. Cox's signature.

3 hours ago

Neilson-Berg explaining the hassles and trouble she has been going through to get into contact with...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Google Fiber customer get her internet fixed after customer service calls go nowhere

When a Salt Lake City woman's internet connection went down, and she couldn't get a straight answer as to when it would be back up, she decided to Get Gephardt.

3 hours ago

a sign announcing rent...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah senators kill compromise bill giving tenants more notice of rent increases

A Utah lawmaker’s push to give tenants more notice of rent increases hit a wall as Republicans on a Senate committee voted not to advance it.

3 hours ago

dome and side of the Utah Capitol...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from lawmakers who voted to make their calendars secret

The KSL Investigators put lawmakers’ statements about a measure that would conceal their calendars through the KSL Truth Test.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Sexton, George Push Jazz To Win Over Blazers