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Mike Conley returns to the Jazz lineup to face the Orlando Magic

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Prepare for a gritty, defense-first matchup

Utah Jazz v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

On the front end of a back-to-back, the Orlando Magic will be looking to start on the right foot. Coming off of a win against the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans, the Magic will want to prove themselves against some real competition. Last week, the Magic went 0-3 against the Bucks, Lakers, and Rockets. Appropriately, the Jazz are entering this as 6.5 point favorites in Vegas.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are on a two-game win streak, and hungry for a good second half to this month. After returning home from a chaotic schedule, the Jazz have been able to regroup and stabilize, catching up on much-needed sleep and practice. So far, the Jazz stars have stepped up phenomenally, showing the city of Utah what it is like to have a “star power” advantage. Unfortunately, the bench has yet to follow suit. But with the added practice time to acclimate to the Jazz brand of basketball, and get used to new teammates, we can expect some level of improvement from the bench. Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder may also try some new rotations and substitution patterns to try and bolster bench production.

Overall, the Magic is a very similar team to Utah, minus the high-end star power. Orlando plays at a slow pace, at 28th in the league. Their defense is 12th in the NBA, while their offense is 24th. Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier are their primary threats. Previous first pick Markelle Fultz has not been shabby either, averaging 11.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, and 4.2 apg.

As long as this does not become a “trap game”, Utah should win handily. Utah has home court advantage, more high-end talent, and a coach who may one day be in the hall of fame. This is a “taking care of business” night, and the Jazz need to go out and make a statement.

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Game Info

When: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 • 9:00 PM ET

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

TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, FSFL

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

What to watch for

The Return of Mike Conley

Mike Conley is probable to play tonight, after sustaining his hamstring injury in the December 2 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Spending time on the bench has given Mike significant time to ask questions and learn more about this team and the system he is running. He is the type of player to continue trying to improve even when he is stuck recovering from an injury.

With Mike’s level of experience as a veteran in this league, there will likely not need to be much of an adjustment period when adding him back to the lineup. This team has seen a little more success while he has been recovering, and there is no reason to think that Conley’s return won’t bring even greater success to what this team is achieving.

Tyrone Corbin on the Magic’s bench

An infamous face will once again be returning to Utah. Former Utah Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin will be on Orlando’s bench as an assistant coach.

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.