Biggest Winners & Losers in Jazz 122-121 OT Win Over Pelicans

Biggest Winners & Losers in Jazz 122-121 OT Win Over Pelicans

The undefeated New Orleans Pelicans entered the home opener flying high after their two double-digit road wins. Still, the Utah Jazz were out to prove to the NBA that tanking the 2022-23 season isn’t in the cards.

When the dust settled, it was the Jazz that came out on top in a 122-121 overtime win. Lauri Markkanen led all scorers with 31 points on 9-for-17 shooting. Kelly Olynyk finished with 20 points, including the game-winner, with 3.1 seconds left.

The Jazz looked to be cruising to a win as they built a 17-point lead with only 9: 43 left in the fourth quarter. The Pelicans responded with an 8-0 run to pull within striking distance.

In overtime, it was a back-and-forth affair, but CJ McCollum missed a contested 28-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to seal the victory for the now 3-0 Jazz. As usual, there were losers and winners in the nail-biter in New Orleans. Let’s take a look at it.

Winner: Lauri Markkanen

The 7-foot sharpshooter from Finland continued to impress. Markkanen was the top scorer and was as efficient as ever.

Not only did he score 31 points, but Markkanen went 11-of-11 from the charity stripe. Jazz fans just might have someone to cheer for when they host the 2023 All-Star game.

Loser: Rudy Gay

Gay looked good in the home opener, but it hasn’t been pretty in his last two games. Against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 17th-year veteran underwhelmed with two points on 1-for-4 shooting and followed that up with a five-point game in 16 minutes of action. The Jazz might look to trade Gay this year. However, with Gay’s trending, they may have to enter a buyout.

Winner: Danny Ainge

All summer, the talk revolved around which players Jazz were going to receive from the New York Knicks in an expected Donovan Mitchell exchange. Ainge changed the script and was able get Collin Sexton and Markkanen from Cleveland, instead of Obi Toppin, QuintenGrimes, RJ Barrett, or Immanuel Quiley.

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It’s early, but it’s trending to be a slam dunk for the Jazz. Although there was much debate about the direction that the Jazz should go initially, it seems like Ainge was clear on his intentions after three games.

Loser: Jazz Bench

The bench for the Jazz struggled on Sunday, with zero players reaching double figures. Collectively they were 12-for-31 while only making 3-for-10 on their three-pointers. Getting production from backups has been a strength of Utah, but it wasn’t meant to be in New Orleans. Sexton scored eight points for the bench.

Winner: Kelly Olynyk

Pundits who said that the Jazz didn’t get value back in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade are eating crow now. Olynyk shined in all three games, including the New Orleans game-winner.

He finished with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting while knocking down a couple of threes. Without Olynyk, the Jazz can’t beat them.

Loser: Pelicans’ Health

The Pelicans got a bad break early as their leading scorer, Brandon Ingram, had to leave in the first quarter due to a head injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Zion Williamson also suffered a nasty spillage on a play that involved Jordan Clarkson late into the game.

We hope that the two All-Stars will make it back to court soon.

The Jazz continue their road trip on Monday vs. the Houston Rockets. Tip-off is at 6: 00 pm MDT.

Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.

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