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Analysis: Lauri Markkanen laughs off his bad night, the Jazz’s triple-double drought and Kris Dunn’s upcoming final 10-day game

SHARE Analysis: Lauri Markkanen laughs off his bad night, the Jazz’s triple-double drought and Kris Dunn’s upcoming final 10-day game
Utah Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker, right, and center Walker Kessler shake hands

Utah Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker, right, and center Walker Kessler celebrate their win against the Charlotte Hornets in an NBA basketball game on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C.

Chris Carlson, Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — Three observations from the Utah Jazz’s 119-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Lauri Markkanen’s bad night

At this point, I think it’s pretty fair to say that Lauri Markkanen is not someone that you have to worry about slumping.

He started out the season a little slow from 3-point range, but he knew that the numbers would eventually even out and he so rarely has nights when he can’t find a way to score one way or another that it’s easy to gloss over just how good he is.

That’s why after his game against the Hornets on Saturday all he could really do was laugh.

“It got pretty ridiculous,” he said through chuckles. “I can’t really do anything but laugh about it. I mean, they were all good looks, they felt fine too. I guess it was just one of those nights.”

Markkanen finished the night shooting just 3-of-22 from the field, including going 1-of-8 from 3-point range. His 13% field-goal percentage on Saturday was his worst shooting performance of the season by far. He actually hadn’t had a game where he shot under 30% this year.

“I’ve had some slow halves before and you just think that it’s going to open up, you just have to stay aggressive, but it really didn’t,” Markkanen said with another laugh. “It hasn’t happened in a while. But we got the win and that’s really what’s most important.”

The Jazz’s triple-double drought

Talen Horton-Tucker got one rebound away from breaking the spell. Well, then the NBA took one of his rebounds away so it actually ended up being two rebounds shy of a triple-double, but still … it was just so close.

Alas, the triple-double drought continues for the Utah Jazz.

There hasn’t been a regular season triple-double by a Jazz player since Carlos Boozer notched a triple-double on Feb. 13, 2008, and that streak continues.

Rudy Gobert nearly did it with points rebounds and blocks back in 2021, and there have been a few other close calls including Donovan Mitchell multiple times and even (amazingly) Hassan Whiteside, but I don’t think any of them felt as probable as Horton-Tucker’s did on Saturday night.

He officially finished with 37 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. As P.J. Washington took the final shot of the game for the Hornets, the entire Jazz bench was screaming for Horton-Tucker to get the rebound, and that’s when Horton-Tucker realized that he was close to getting his first career triple-double. He was going to go for the rebound too, but Washington’s shot was right on target and the game ended.

I guess in retrospect it’s better that Horton-Tucker didn’t notch a 10th rebound, because when the NBA took away one, it would have been a lot worse if he’d just celebrated a triple-double and then had it taken away.

Either way, the drought lives on.

Kris Dunn’s final 10-day game

Monday night’s game in Miami, the final game of this six-game road trip, is the final game of Kris Dunn’s second 10-day contract. After that game the Jazz have a few days off before they return home to host the Boston Celtics on Saturday. The 10-day expires on Tuesday.

I don’t have much more to say on the subject that I haven’t already said. I think the Jazz would be crazy not to sign Dunn for the rest of the season and at the very least add a team option for next season.

But, that’s a decision that is going to come before the Jazz’s next home game, so it will be interesting to see how Dunn shows out against the Miami Heat on Monday night. Feels like it might be a game you’d want to tune in to, if for no other reason than a few defensive highlights served up by Dunn.