Jazz stars Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton out against Thunder

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Jazz stars Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton out against Thunder

Utah Jazz stars Lauri Markkanen (hand) and Collin Sexton (rest) have been ruled out for Thursday night’s home game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. Markkanen, 25, was absent for only 13 games so far this season. This will be the fifth time the All-Star forward has missed back-to-back games with Utah.

Meanwhile, Sexton is set to miss his 32nd game this season. The fifth-year guard suffered a left hamstring strain in February. Since OKC lost 136-125 against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the Jazz can still make the playoffs if the Dallas Mavericks collapse. Utah coach Will Hardy wants Sexton healthy for the Play-In Tournament.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Jazz have 23rd-ranked odds to win the championship. Check out which sportsbooks are giving the Thunder and Mavericks better odds of qualifying for the Play-In Tournament.

“I don’t want to ever have to revisit hamstring issues,” Sexton said last week. “Now we’re just trying to correct everything and get everything right so we know what works for me and works for my body so that we can make sure that I don’t have to miss games from now to moving forward.

“You can’t just do the same thing over and over because your body gets to be kinda lazy or starts getting used to that. Sometimes you gotta go back to the drawing board and change the agenda.”

Jazz stars Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton have been downgraded to out for Thursday night’s home game against Thunder

Through 66 starts this season, Lauri Markkanen is averaging career highs of 25.6 points, 1.9 assists, and 34.4 minutes per game. Plus, he’s shooting a career-best 49.9% from the floor and 39.1% beyond the arc. Markkanen remains the favorite to win NBA Most Improved Player of the Year.

In Utah’s 131-114 win over the Houston Rockets on Jan. 5, the Arizona product scored a career-high 49 points in 37 minutes of action. Along with grabbing eight boards, the Jazz forward shot 15-of-27 (55.6%) from the field and drained six 3-pointers.

Additionally, Collin Sexton is averaging 14.3 points, 2.2 boards, 2.9 assists, and 23.9 minutes per game through 48 appearances this season. Despite lower offensive production, the guard is still shooting a career-best 50.6% from the floor with Utah.

Other players listed on Utah’s injury report include Rudy Gay (back) and Jordan Clarkson (finger). Both Gay and Clarkson are questionable for Thursday’s matchup. Not to mention, Walker Kessler (concussion) is out for the season. The Jazz (36-43) and Thunder (38-42) are aiming to end their three-game losing streaks.

For OKC’s injury report, Kenrich Williams (wrist) is out for the season. While Luguentz Dort (shoulder) is questionable, Aleksej Pokusevski (knee) has been downgraded to out. Furthermore, Chet Holmgren (foot) is still months away from making his NBA debut in the regular season.

Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, Utah has a 41.9% chance of defeating the Thunder. Of course, the Jazz are hoping to end their four-game home skid. Utah has a 13-14 record in games decided by 10 or more points this season.

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