The Flamethrower had, at least compared to his scorching-hot numbers this season, had cooled off a little touch recently.

But was Jordan Clarkson concerned?

Not even a little bit.

“I don’t worry about that,” the Utah Jazz guard said on Wednesday morning. “I’m a hooper, man. I’m just going out there and making plays. … If it goes in, it goes in.”

Everything seemed to be going in for Clarkson in Wednesday night’s 126-94 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The frontrunner for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award scored a game-high 30 points off the bench to help the first-place Jazz improve to 48-18 on the season.

Bumped behind the arc? Make it a 4-point play. Hit across the arm and falling down? Banked in for another bucket. Clarkson finished the night 12-for-16 from the floor (2 for 4 from 3-point territory) en route to his third 30-plus point performance of the year.

“When you see the ball go in early and there’s a good flow to the game, there is definitely a good feeling about it,” Clarkson said after the game. “I definitely was feeling good.”

The Jazz dominated the Spurs for the second game in a row. They never trailed after the 7:49 mark in the first quarter. They had hit the 100-mark before time expired in the third.

“Our rhythm is great right now,” forward Bojan Bogdanovic said. “We’ve had to figure out how to play without Donovan [Mitchell] and Mike [Conley]. We’re trying to run more. But we need those two guys back to get our rhythm. They are two of our most important players for our team.”

Bogdanovic had 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, continuing his impressive form and helping the Jazz stay atop the West despite the absence of two All-Star guards.

“Both of those guys are capable of doing that,” Snyder said of Bogdanovic and Clarkson’s efficient scoring nights. “Both of them are making quick decisions when they receive the ball and they’re not playing in a crowd because they’re making quick reads and good decisions when to shoot, when to drive and when to pass.”

Joe Ingles scored 14. Rudy Gobert had 10 points and eight rebounds. In all, 12 different Jazzmen scored at least one bucket.

The win, combined with the Phoenix Suns’ loss in Atlanta earlier in the night, moved the Jazz a full game ahead of the second-place Suns in the West.

In the five games leading up to Wednesday, Clarkson had shot 24 percent from 3 and had seen a small dip in his offensive production.

“It’s been a little different with [Donovan Mitchell] and [Mike Conley] out,” he said. “I’m having to make plays. Defenses are doing different things. But, nah, I don’t really look at numbers like that. I just try to impact the game and do what I can.”

There wasn’t much Clarkson didn’t do against the Spurs. In addition to leading his team in scoring, Clarkson grabbed six rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists.

”I keep my head down, keep grinding, keep taking the shots that are there,” Clarkson said. “When they fall, it feels good. But I’m always confident. I’m always going to take those shots.”



Donovan Mitchell’s sprained right ankle is scheduled to be evaluated on Friday.

Nearly three weeks after landing awkwardly and turning his ankle in a game against the Indiana Pacers, Mitchell’s coach and teammates say the All-Star guard has been in good spirits as he works his way back toward full health.

“He’s competitive and he wants to be out there,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said Wednesday. “But I think he also understands it’s important for him to be in a good place, particularly at this point in the year.”

Mitchell has been making progress in his recovery over the last two weeks.

“But it’s always challenging when you have an injury and it’s more of a day-to-day thing and it’s incremental improvement,” Snyder said.

The Jazz have six games left in the regular season and just over two weeks until the playoffs begin. Until then, Mitchell’s teammates want him to simply focus on his health.

“He’s been handling it great. He’s getting all his work done, treatment, doing as much as he can and trying to get back as soon as possible,” guard Jordan Clarkson said. “We just want him back healthy and ready to go when it’s time to turn it on and put it into go.”

• Vivint Arena is getting a little more crowded.

On May 1, in coordination with the Utah Department of Health and the NBA, capacity was increased to about 6,700. Included in that count: a limited number of courtside seats for fans who have provided proof of full vaccination and test negative for Covid-19.

Count Clarkson among those glad to see a few more faces down on the floor.

“I’ve always been a player that interacts with fans on the sideline,” he said. “It just makes you feel more into the game. That energy is so different. It’s great to have that again. It’s starting to feel normal. It’s dope to have that especially with our fans. They’re great. They get really loud. There’s no place like it.”   

Up Next

It’s a Rocky Mountain showdown as MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets come to Vivint Arena on Friday. Tipoff between two of the West’s top teams is set for 7 p.m.

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