Sarah Todd covers the NBA and Utah Jazz for the Deseret News.
The Utah Jazz beat the Philadelphia 76ers 134-123 on Monday night at Vivint Arena and they did so behind a stellar performance from their sixth man.
Jordan Clarkson scored a season-high 40 points — two points shy of his career high of 42 — in 29 minutes off the bench. He started out the night going 4-of-4 from the 3-point line in a span of less than four minutes when he first subbed into the game. He finished 8-of-13 from deep, 13-of-20 overall and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
After the game, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and Joe Ingles were asked what it’s like coaching and playing with a guy who is so confident and plays with so much energy. Here’s what the two of them, plus Clarkson, had to say after the game.
Quin Snyder: “I think the mix that he has of his aggressiveness both from the 3-point line and at the rim — we really talked a lot about his ability to shoot 3s as opposed to settling for the midrange when he’s he’s so good at the rim — and one of the things he’s doing is when he does get into paint, he’s such a good finisher, but he’s also got his eyes out, and we want his eyes on the rim, (laughs) but he’s also been unbelievably unselfish. I believe in him and his teammates believe in him. He’s confident to begin with, but I think that takes him to a really good place mentally. I just like the other things he’s trying to do as well. I think the way that he’s thrown himself into the game — you see him on the offensive glass, you see him trying to defend — and I think that helps him stay focused. He doesn’t need to be too open to be aggressive and shoot the ball and that’s what we want. That’s what his teammates want, too.”
Joe Ingles: “I’ve never played with anyone like JC in my lifetime, on the court or off the court. It’s pretty cool to play with someone that’s so locked in to what his role is and so comfortable in the role. He got fouled on a 3 as I was walking up (to sub in for him) and coach told me to leave him in. He might not be saying it, but he screwed up on defense, so coach told me to go back out there to sub him out and then I think he made a corner 3 right after that. I was ready to walk back down and give him a couple more minutes. There was a timeout after that and I apologized to him for subbing him out but he was happy. He’s just so comfortable and happy in his role. He knows what we want him to do, he knows what he needs to do for our team. (No matter when he goes in) he’s hot as soon as he gets in. Yeah, it’s awesome to play with guy like that and even more cool, just like I said, for him to have a role, accept the role and be pretty darn good at his role. It’s obviously been a huge impact since we got him on this team.”
Jordan Clarkson: “The biggest thing for me is them saying that, them believing in me, letting me be myself and embracing me ... that gives me confidence in its own. Those guys will always come over to the bench and tell me to keep shooting. Even when I have an off night, even when I’m hot, they still tell me to shoot the ball, no matter what. They tell me to make you plays and it gives me that confidence. My teammates, coaches, just everybody continuously talking to me, embracing who I am, and it’s just love. I really appreciate that and I’m happy.”