The Utah Jazz (5-1) are rolling into Sacramento (0-5) to take on the Kings with quite a bit of momentum after a big win against the LA Clippers. Mountain Mike Conley scored a season high 29 points in the Jazz’s victory over the Kawhi Leonard-less Clippers. While the Clippers didn’t have their best player, they’re still a tough defensive team and have Jazz killer Lou Williams. With Conley back on his A game, the Jazz hope they can keep Sacramento down in their sorrows.
Sacramento’s season isn’t starting the way the anticipated. An injury to their prized big man—at least he better be prized because he was selected before Luka Doncic—Marvin Bagley is out with a fractured thumb. They have lost every game this season by 7 points or more, including two by 20+ points, one of which was to the Utah Jazz last week. They have the one of the league’s worst offenses (29th) to start the season and to add insult to injury, one of the worst defenses (27th).
Although the Kings are winless, they are dangerous. They still have De’Aaron Fox who can be a nightmare for opposing guards with his speed and quickness, they have Buddy Hield who can heat up in a hurry, and wings Bogdan Bogdanovic and Harrison Barnes—while unreliable—are known for the point explosion. The Jazz’s defense tonight—as it always is—will be key as they will attempt to make De’Aaron Fox a one man show by eliminating his cast and crew’s ability to score in this one.
While those players are dangerous, the Kings don’t have one player who is averaging over 16 points a game, and they look to be in for a rough season. The key for Utah is to continue their sorrows and not let tonight be the game that turns their season around.
When: Friday, November 1, 2019 • 10:00 PM ET
Where: Golden 1 Center • Sacramento, CA
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
Keep the Sacramento wings in check
Hield, Bogdanovic, and Barnes can get hot from beyond the arc. Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Royce O’Neale need to focus on the defensive end before anything else. Luckily for the Utah Jazz, that’s what they’ve been doing this season. All those players rank in the leagues top 30 for defensive win shares. Even more impressively, Donovan Mitchell has just as many defensive win shares this season (0.5) as Rudy Gobert. With Joe Ingles and Jeff Green coming off the bench, the Jazz should be able to disrupt the Kings in a hurry. That way Fox is forced to do too much on his own. While staying pat on Sacramento’s wings will increase spacing for Fox, Utah has the ultimate weapon in Gobert who can close space in a hurry on the defensive end. While Gobert isn’t averaging more than 10 points a game this season, he’s already anchoring the league’s best defense that hasn’t allowed a single opponent to score more than 96 points in a game this season.
Force Fox to overwork on the defensive end
Fox will be doing heavy lifting this game if Utah can get him to shoulder the offensive burden so it will be important to make sure he can’t hide or take plays off on the offensive end. If Conley can build on his momentum from the game in Utah, and Donovan continues to just be an offensive force, then Fox will have a tougher time getting rest on the defensive end to save it for scoring.
Mountain time. “Did everything but gave up” Selah pic.twitter.com/F2DOlxQ3Oq— Mike Conley (@MCONLEY10) October 31, 2019
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.