- The Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 109-105 on Sunday for their 5th straight win.
- Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 23 points off the bench, his fourth consecutive 20-point game.
- Clarkson is averaging a career high 17.5 points per game this season.
Don’t look now but the Utah Jazz have extended their winning streak to five games and at 9-4 on the season, they now have the third best record in the Western Conference behind the powerhouse Los Angeles teams.
On Sunday, the Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 109-105 in their first game since their 2020 NBA playoffs first round series which the Nuggets won in a thrilling series that went the full seven-game route.
Back then, it was the Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray show as the two stars from the opposite teams engaged in scoring duel throughout the entire series. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell averaged 36.3 points per game during the series while Denver’s Jamal Murray put up 31.6 points per contest including a pair of 50-point games.
This time around, it was a little different. Denver no longer has Jerami Grant, Torrey Craig, and Mason Plumlee. Utah played with Bogdan Bogdanovic who missed the 2020 playoffs with an injury. Then there was Jordan Clarkson who led the Jazz with 23 points on Sunday. Sure, Clarkson averaged 16.7 points during the 2019 seven-game series but this season, Utah’s sixth man is having a career season.
Having a Career Year
Jordan Clarkson has now scored 20+ points off the bench 4 times this season! He’s also averaging a career-high 17.5 PPG ? pic.twitter.com/ggojztUI5U
— Jazz Nation (@JazzNationCP) January 18, 2021
While Mitchell is the team’s primary scorer, Jordan Clarkson is Utah’s best scorer off the bench. Utah’s sixth man is averaging a career-high 17.5 points per game this season while grabbing 4.0 rebounds and registering 1.0 steal per game. In Utah’s 13 games played through Sunday, Clarkson has scored in double digits twelve times. Sunday’s effort was his fourth 20-point game off the bench this season.
The 28-year old Filipino-American was the Washington Wizards’ 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Clarkson was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on Draft Night and he would end up playing his first four seasons with the Purple and Gold before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017. After 2+ seasons in Cleveland, he was dealt to the Jazz in 2019 and has excelled in his role as Utah’s sixth man.
Clarkson averaged 15.6 points per game in 42 games with the Jazz last season. But in almost just the same amount of playing time and shots taken per game, Clarkson is putting up career-high numbers this season. Aside from scoring, Clarkson is shooting at a career-high 50.0% from the field and 42.9% from behind the three-point arc.
Jazz 9-4 to Start The Season
The @utahjazz beat the @nuggets and are 9-4. The Nuggets are 6-7. #TakeNote #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/e98m1jCXlg
— gameupdates (@sportsgameupdat) January 18, 2021
With their win over the Nuggets, the Jazz improved their record to 9-4 on the season. Utah has won five straight games and they are now an impressive 7-2 on the road so far this season. Utah is currently one game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Northwest Division team standings. As of 1/18/21, they are the +105 betting favorites to win their division.
The Jazz currently have the third best odds to win the Western Conference at +1000. They are tied with the Dallas Mavericks and are only behind the Lakers (+250) and Clippers (+300) in the Western Conference oddsboard and are tied with the Celtics for the 7th best odds to win the 2021 NBA title at +2000 at SportsBetting.ag.
Utah has not advanced to the Conference Finals since 2007 but if Jordan Clarkson continues to put up big numbers off the bench and gives Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Bogdan Bogdanovic consistent scoring support off the bench, this Jazz team could give the top contenders a run for their money.