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Mike Conley, Utah Jazz look to find offensive groove tonight against Kings

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Will Utah’s prized point guard addition return to form back in SLC?

Sacramento Kings v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

After a disappointing and discombobulating loss in Los Angeles, the Utah Jazz will look to bounce back on the second night of a back to back as they host the Sacramento Kings. In last night’s loss, Donovan Mitchell once again carried most of the offensive responsibilities as the rest of the Jazz team struggled to not turn the ball over, hit open shots, and get in the flow of the offense. Luckily for Utah, the Sacramento Kings are not exactly entering the game as their best selves either. The Kings—who are already without Marvin Bagley who suffered a thumb injury—could also be without their star point guard De’Aaron Fox who said he suffered a hip injury last night in the second quarter of last night’s match against the Trail Blazers.

Utah is wanting to prove that they are one of the top teams in the West after two games of looking a mess on offense. The Jazz were known for being a one note team last year with Donovan Mitchell being the only arrow in the Jazz’s quiver of offensive weapons, and—thus far—the Utah Jazz are repeating history.

There’s two reasons for that problem, one is Bojan Bogdanovic turning an ankle in Utah’s season opener and being unavailable to play in LA and being limited in their first game and the other is a potentially worrying one: Mike Conley struggling. When Bogdanovic has been available to play in the regular season—all 3 quarters of it—he’s been masterful. Mike Conley looks out of sorts. Conley is shooting an abysmal 15% through his first two games and is 4 for 27 from the field. He has six turnovers and has had trouble with the pocket pass to Rudy Gobert on the pick and roll and overall seeing the floor and his weapons.

Before we get into the sky is falling, Mike Conley is a long-time NBA veteran. This is his first new team in his career. He’s adapting to other teammates rather than them adapting to him. He has never played with the amount of talent he has at his fingertips and the Jazz’s system is probably spinning in his head every possession. He will return to his normal self. The question will be can he do that tonight?

On the Kings side, if Fox is a no go tonight, the Jazz will have to limit Bogdan Bogdanovic—get ready to get confused with names tonight—and Buddy Hield. Bogdan can get hot in a hurry and Hield has played well to start the season. Harrison Barnes is always a threat, but like Jeff Green he is inconsistent. It would be the Jazz’s luck for him to go off for a big game tonight, but it’s not likely.


Game Info

When: 7:00PM Saturday, October 26th, 2019

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

TV: AT&T RSM

Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone


Injuries

Utah Jazz:

Dante Exum - Knee - Out indefinitely

Bojan Bogdanovic - Ankle - Questionable

Sacramento Kings:

De’Aaron Fox - Hip - Day to Day

Marvin Bagley - Thumb - OUT

Harry Giles - Knee - Day to Day


What to watch for

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Conley, where art thou

Mike Conley probably doesn’t want to be Mike Conley right now. No one wants to struggle in their first few days on the job, let alone in front of thousands of fans. Mike Conley referred to his struggles like quick sand, the harder he tries, the more he gets stuck. That’s a fair assessment. The key for Conley may be to slow down. There were some promising signs at the end of the Lakers game last night where he looked to actually go into the paint with a plan with one of those for a great kick out to Royce O’Neale. The shot didn’t fall, but it was a great example of him using his gravity with his weapons. To be fair, Donovan was guilty of this, too. The Jazz’s guards were getting caught in the paint with no options.

The Jazz have a lot of weapons and the offense isn’t fully installed due to all the new players. That could mean some bumpy nights this first month of the season. Mike Conley is due for a big game and tonight’s home game should be the one.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jazz Defense is still the Jazz defense

Despite being rough on offense, the Jazz’s defense is still tough. They are 8th in defensive rating in the NBA and that tough defense kept them within striking distance for most of the LA game despite being absolutely dreadful on defense. That defense is the lone bright spot aside from Donovan Mitchell. While there’s a lot to be concerned about—and luckily most of it is VERY fixable—the Jazz defense isn’t a problem area.


Mandatory Highlight


Game Thread Ground Rules

Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.

Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.