Jordan Clarkson’s second-half shot makes headlines for Jazz in comfortable win over Hawks – The Athletic

Jordan Clarkson was in the middle of warm-ups Thursday night, minutes before the Utah Jazz faced the Atlanta Hawks. He was focused on a task that lay ahead. His mind was probably not where it should have been.

One of the most confident players in the league, Clarkson was in the midst of one of the deepest shooting slumps of his career. And that wasn’t a feat for a guy who made a living pulling himself in and out of slump.

Donovan Mitchell approached him. The star forward is reportedly not playing against Atlanta as he sprained his ankle on Tuesday night. He looked Clarkson in the eye, gave him a book, and said the words that would change the night for Clarkson – and for Jazz.

“Keep shooting,” Mitchell said. “Continue to be you. Keep playing your game. It’s only a matter of time before the blows fall.

Utah’s seventh win of the young season, a 116-98 win over the talented Hawks, went ugly for 2.5 quarters. Without Mitchell, Utah scored 39 points in the first half. Without Mitchell, the Jazz looked like a rudderless sailboat. And without Mitchell, the Hawks led up to nine points in the third quarter.

And then, for Jazz, it became beautiful.

Splash. Splash. Splash.

An offensive avalanche from Clarkson in the second half saw Utah not only catch up with the team that reached the Eastern Conference final last season, but also convincingly pass them. At the end of the avalanche, Clarkson had 30 points, including 25 in the second half.

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