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Jazz Fontecchio Clutch Play Stuns NBA MVP, Italy Tops Serbia

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz could have struck gold this summer with the addition of Simone Fontecchio who helped lead the Italian national team to a stunning upset of Nikola Jokic and the heavily favored Serbia.

Jokick, the two-time defending NBA MVP had led Serbia to an ideal 5-0 record and the highest seed within the EuroBasket knockout round but was eliminated by Italy on Sunday.

Fontecchio, who signed with the Jazz in mid-July made clutch plays on each ends of the ground, including an infinite defensive stop against Jokic to hold Italy to the upset.

With Italy leading Serbia 88-78 late within the second half, Fontecchio rotated to defend Jokic, intercepting his pass to a teammate on the three-point line. The Jazz forward then finished at the opposite end with a circus layup while drawing a foul, putting the ending touches on Serbia’s EuroBasket tournament.

🇮🇹 Simone Fontecchio says play ‘Gala – Freed From Desire’ 🤯🎶 #EuroBasket pic.twitter.com/Vy8jcMfWzg

— BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) September 11, 2022

Italy was capable of construct their double-digit lead over the EuroBasket giants because of a 16-2 run to open the fourth quarter, erasing a 14 point first-half lead by Serbia.

Fontecchio finished with 19 points including 3-6 shooting from the three-point line, a part of Italy’s impressive 16-38 outing from downtown against Serbia.

Italy will face former Jazz star Rudy Gobert and France on Wednesday with a probability to advance to the EuroBasket semifinals.

Markkanen Pours In 42 For Finland

Lauri Markkanen can be turning heads as he continues his sensible run at EuroBasket.

The Jazz acquired Markkanen earlier this month in a trade that sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the seven-foot big man from Finland has been putting on a show ever since.

They call him the King within the North for a reason 👑🇫🇮

43 PTS | 9 REB | 3 AST | 3 BLK | 0 TO

Lauri Markkanen & Finland should not done yet 💯#EuroBasket x #BringTheNoise pic.twitter.com/rJHC7ULz7e

— #EuroBasket 2022 (@EuroBasket) September 11, 2022

Markkanen scored a surprising 42 points as he led Finland to a 94-86 victory over Croatia and Jazz teammate Bojan Bogdanovic early Sunday morning.

The forward knocked down 19-29 field goal attempts in only 32 minutes as Finland advanced to face Spain on Wednesday.

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