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Jordan Clarkson doesn't seem to care about 99-game 3-point streak ending in Jazz win

Milwaukee Bucks guard Rodney Hood (5) dribbles as Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) watches during an NBA preseason game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Rodney Hood (5) dribbles as Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) watches during an NBA preseason game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Clarkson let out a loud laugh.

That told you how much he cared about his 99-game streak of at least one made 3-pointer coming to an end on Sunday.

But did he have any words about the long run ending after going 0 of 7 from deep?

"Ummm nope," Clarkson said with a laugh. "It's over! Start another one. Move forward."

The Jazz haven't had the hottest shooting start to the season, hitting just 32.5% from 3-point range in their first six games. Those struggles continued in Milwaukee in Utah's 107-95 win over the defending champion Bucks.

Utah was 12 of 37 from 3-point range — and that was after the team hit its first five triples; yes, they went 7 of 32 the rest of the way.

The good news? The Jazz are still finding ways to win.

Sunday was no different.

Clarkson might not have hit a 3, but he came up with a big steal in the fourth quarter as part of a solid defensive effort from Utah's sixth man.

Donovan Mitchell struggled for a bit against a Milwaukee defense that was dead set on blitzing every pick and roll, but he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

The Jazz as a whole may not have shot well, but they limited the Bucks to a 69.7 defensive rating in half-court possessions.

That included a steal from Clarkson in the fourth quarter where he picked the pocket of Justin Robinson on the perimeter and then finished on the other end with a layup. That was one of a few impressive defensive plays Clarkson made down the stretch (It helped that the Bucks were without Khris MIddleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez).

"I feel like I've been saying it for a long time about his care factor and his will and he's got a lot of pride and he wants to win," Quin Snyder said of Clarkson. "He wants to win. He can really score but he wants to win more than he wants to score. There is a competitiveness. ... If you're not making shots you want to figure out another way to impact the game and that's that's exactly what he did. And those were big plays."

Clarkson said he wasn't worried about his shot — hence why he could laugh off the end of his streak. He's had some shooting slumps before and he's found a way out of them. He thinks this current dip in efficiency is no different.

"I think the big concentration for me is on the defensive end," Clarkson said. "Trying to bring energy on that side, continue to help us win games. Just bring energy, good vibes; shots are gonna fall."

Just like they did for Mitchell at the end.

The Bucks jumped out on Mitchell all game long, and used long wing defenders to double him in pick-and-roll actions.

"We're gonna see different teams play us different ways, and they were obviously really aggressive in the pick and roll — blitzing us and trapping us," Snyder said. "We really tried to move the ball, and I think there were opportunities late that I thought Donovan was terrific at attacking the rim and challenging."

Mitchell led a 10-2 run in the third quarter to help break the game open, and then scored on back-to-back drives in the final two minutes after the Bucks had cut a 17-point lead to just four.

"That was a pivotal point in the game, that's really my job to go out there and have that imprint at that moment," Mitchell said. "For us, I hit a few shots, and we got some stops. Being able to push the lead out and put our foot on the gas a bit more. We all did that as a group."

It helped, too, that the Jazz were a bit more whole than they were Saturday in Chicago. A day after Utah suffered their first loss of the season as Mike Conley sat on the bench, the veteran point guard provided his usual calming presence (not to mention 20 points) to help the Jazz secure the victory.

"We really executed when we needed to," Mitchell said. "You look at the way tonight went, you look at the way last night went — two polar opposite situations. I think there were times where Chicago really amped up the pressure, and we weren't ready for it. You get into a game like tonight, we were ready for it."

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