The Rundown: Markkanen, Clarkson star in Jazz win

Published January 14, 2023, 3:00 PMMiguel Flores

Behind Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson, the Jazz managed to hold off the Magic.



Pelicans 116, Pistons 110

Hawks 113, Pacers 111

Knicks 112, Wizards 108

Warriors 144, Spurs 113

Thunder 124, Bulls 110

Timberwolves 121, Suns 116

Jazz 112, Magic 108

Nuggets 115, Clippers 103

Kings 139, Rockets 114

What went down

In what was the most fun game of the day, the Utah Jazz edged out the Orlando Magic in a battle of two of the more promising young teams in the league.

The game refused to be normal as both sides made big runs at every juncture. Every time the Jazz seemed like they had control, the Magic turned up the athleticism and wreaked havoc.

Utah was ahead by seven with around three minutes remaining, but Paolo Banchero and Markelle Fultz powered a run that gave the Magic a 108-107 lead with less than 40 seconds on the clock.

From there, the Jazz put on the finishing touches with Jordan Clarkson and Colin Sexton drilling tough buckets in the lane to give Utah a 111-108 lead. Then, Lauri Markkanen blocked Franz Wagner’s last-ditch 3-point attempt to seal the win.

Markkanen finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds while Clarkson added his own double-double of 23 points and 12 boards. Walker Kessler, a throw-in in the Rudy Gobert trade, continued to solidify his place in the starting lineup with a monster line of 13 points, nine rebounds, and career-high seven blocks.

The Magic continued to pull huge numbers from sophomore Franz Wagner, who dropped 26 points while Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr. each had 19 points.

The Jazz, while not playing at the red-hot pace they set at the start of the season, are firmly in the play-in picture in eighth place in the West with a 22-23 record. The Magic are closer to the bottom of the East with a 16-27 slate.

In Los Angeles, the Denver Nuggets survived without Nikola Jokic, dropping off the Clippers for their fifth consecutive win.

Jokic sat out only his second game of the season to rest an injured wrist. Without him, the Nuggets still overwhelmed a Clippers side, who were without Paul George, but had Kawhi Leonard available.

With the exception of the massive Kawhi dunk, the Nuggets controlled the second half with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. leading the offense. Murray finished with 24 points while Porter had 22.

Denver remained on top of the West with a 29-13 record, just half a game ahead of the 28-13 Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers, on the other hand, stayed in the murky middle with a 22-22 record.

Big-time baller

The beam was lit again with the Sacramento Kings scoring another decisive win over the Houston Rockets. This time, Domantas Sabonis had his way with Houston’s frontline, collecting a triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 16 assists, which was a career-high.

He also had two steals and two blocks, meaning he should have carried your fantasy team today to a big lead or at least turned the tide on a rough week.

The Kings have the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Los Angeles Lakers next on their schedule. That’s a run of games against teams with squishy frontlines for Sabonis to annihilate.

What he said

D’Angelo Russell did not hold back in an interview with Yahoo! Sports about being in trade rumors again for the fourth time in his career.

“You either take advantage of me and my ability, or f*** up the opportunity with me. It’s as simple as that,” he said in the interview. From being a young player with the Lakers to most recently being involved in the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade with the Golden State Warriors and the Andrew Wiggins trade in the same season, Russell has been in plenty of similar situations.

Did you see that?

The league has been looking at ways to spice up the Dunk Contest and they definitely drew attention by inviting current G-League player Mac McClung to the event.

McClung is no ordinary G-League player as he’s developed a massive online following since appearing in Ballislife mixtapes. If the NBA can’t get stars to participate, maybe getting social media stars in on the event could drum up some attention.

In San Antonio, the Spurs celebrated their 50th anniversary by returning to their once home, the Alamodome, and setting an NBA attendance record for a regular-season game.

This broke the record previously held by the Chicago Bulls visiting the Atlanta Hawks at the Georgia Dome in 1997. The Alamodome was the Spurs’ home court from 1993 to 2002.