Northwest Notes: THT, Sexton, Murray, Camara, Sharpe

After an up-and-down start to the season that saw them primarily coming off the bench, Jazz guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Collin Sexton have been inserted into the starting lineup with Keyonte George and Jordan Clarkson injured and are playing their best basketball of the season, writes Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Horton-Tucker has averaged 20.3 points and 6.5 assists in his past four games (three starts), with a shooting line of .484/.389/.824. Sexton, meanwhile, has put up 25.6 PPG and 4.0 APG in his past five, with a scorching-hot shooting line of .506/.406/.900.

The results when the two guards have shared the court have also been more encouraging as of late. In Utah’s first 23 games of the season, the team had a -6.3 net rating in the 267 minutes that Horton-Tucker and Sexton played together. In the past five games, the duo has spent 91 minutes on the court together and the team has a +10.8 net rating in that time.

“I get a kick out of the dynamic between the two,” head coach Will Hardy said, per Larsen. “I mean, they argue like brothers when they’re on the bench. It’s really funny. I come back to the timeouts frequently and hear them going back and forth in a spirited, healthy way about whatever’s going on on the court.”

“It’s actually kind of funny, because everybody, like, my family and my teammates, they’re always thinking me and Collin are arguing. We’re never arguing,” Horton-Tucker clarified. “We’re both trying to help each other. If I see something that he did wrong, he sees something that I could help him with, he’s always going to come tell me. Collin’s whole makeup is, like, intense. You never know if he’s yelling or just having a regular conversation with you.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • With Jamal Murray back in his home country of Canada on Wednesday night to face the Raptors, Eric Koreen of The Athletic takes a look at how the Nuggets guard has established himself as a star without ever earning an All-Star berth, while Josh Lewenberg of notes (via Twitter) that Murray reiterated his desire to play for the Canadian national team at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
  • An overlooked part of the three-team blockbuster that sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee, Trail Blazers rookie Toumani Camara has emerged as a regular starter and a reliable defender for his new team, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic, who says that Camara’s inclusion in that deal was one of the final sticking points between Portland and Phoenix. The fact that Camara is thriving in Portland is all the more improbable given that he and head coach Chauncey Billups agree that his pre-draft workout with the Blazers wasn’t great.“He didn’t look very good. He really didn’t. … He didn’t stand out,” Billups said. “… I can remember watching summer league, one of the first games, and … the kid is good! He’s really good. Active. Tough as heck. I didn’t really see that in the workout, which is why I always say you can’t put too much into a workout. You have to actually see a guy play (five-on-five).”
  • Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe, who missed the second half of Tuesday’s game due to a hip issue, has been ruled out for Thursday’s game vs. Washington due to right adductor soreness, according to the team (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether Sharpe will miss additional time beyond tonight’s contest.
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