Sensabaugh Matches Career-High, Jazz Fall To Cavaliers

Apr 2, 2024, 10:50 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz fell to 0-10 in their last 10 outings after suffering a 129-113 blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at home.

Brice Sensabaugh scored 22 points for the second consecutive game to lead the Jazz.

Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert led all scorers with 26 points.

Sensabaugh’s NBA Shot Chart

Leading up to the 2023 draft there were significant questions about how well Sensabaugh’s offensive game would translate to the NBA.

The Florida native scored at a historic rate during his freshman season at Ohio State, but with a game largely based on mid-range jump shots, there were doubts about how quickly he could adapt his game to the pro level.

If his last two outings are any indication of what is to come, it may have only taken the rookie 25 career games to make the leap.

“Brice has a real gift,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said, “but we don’t want him to fall into the trap of only shooting mid-range jumpers or only hunting mid-range jumpers.”

Sensabaugh attempted five mid-range jump shots against the Cavaliers, knocking down two, including a difficult baseline fadeaway in the first half. However, he countered those looks with a career-high six made three-pointers on nine attempts.

“We’re looking for corner threes and layups first,” Sensabaugh acknowledged. “Then it’s just like a pyramid that goes down. Mid-range is actually, probably close, somewhere close to the bottom.”

But, with Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, and Jordan Clarkson all missing games due to various injuries, the Jazz needed Sensabaugh to step up offensively against the Cavaliers, and his well-rounded scoring attack has come in handy.

“That’s a part of my game,” Sensabaugh said. “So I feel like I can’t give it up completely.”

Why Is Collin Sexton Finishing Better At The Rim?

Collin Sexton’s improvement this season has been well documented with both his three-point makes and assist numbers making a significant jump.

Another area where Sexton has improved is his scoring near the rim, where his efficiency has been aided by a more judicious approach inside the paint.

“He’s definitely done a much better job of limiting the extremely tough rim finishes where he’s just sort of launching himself into big guys,” Hardy said. “I think his decision-making overall has been talked about a lot this year and that’s one area where you see it reflected from a statistical standpoint.”

After taking 25 percent of his field goal attempts at the rim last year, that number has dropped to 20 percent this season.

That approach has resulted in Sexton’s success rate within three feet of the rim climbing from 60 percent in his first year with the Jazz to 75 percent this season.

With that improvement, Sexton’s points per game average has increased from a career-low 14.3 last season to 18.8 this year.

With 19 points against the Cavaliers, the Jazz guard snapped his streak of consecutive 20-point games at 11, four short of his career-best streak that he set twice as a member of the Cavaliers.

Jazz Standings Watch After Loss To Cavaliers

With Tuesday’s loss, the Jazz fell to 29-47 on the season, and ended the night in a tie with the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth-worst record in the NBA.

The Jazz’s 10-game losing streak is their longest since the 1981-82 season when they lost a franchise-worst 18 in a row.

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With six games left to play, the Jazz own the second-toughest schedule remaining in the NBA, while the Nets have the sixth-easiest.

The team that finishes with the eighth-worst record at season’s end will have a 26.2 percent chance of moving up into the top-four spots in the draft, while the team with the ninth-worst record will have a 20.2 percent chance.

Utah Jazz Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Clippers on Friday at 8:30 pm MST in Los Angeles. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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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.

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Sensabaugh Matches Career-High, Jazz Fall To Cavaliers