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Utah Jazz fall to the Los Angeles Clippers

Not having Mike Conley might be an issue for the Jazz

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In their first game without Mike Conley, who went down with a knee injury, the Utah Jazz missed him in their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, 121-114.

In Conley’s place, Will Hardy went with Collin Sexton, and he really struggled. For the game, Sexton was 5/13 from the field and 0/2. But the issue was the playmaking. Sexton had just 1 assist in 28 minutes, and it was painfully evident at times that his vision just wasn’t there. Here’s an example of a play where Jordan Clarkson is open in the corner for a three, and Sexton doesn’t come close to seeing him.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Sexton isn’t a contributing player because we’ve seen him be a difference-maker multiple times and even win the Jazz some games. But this game showed that Mike Conley has been a big part of what the Jazz are doing this season. It will be interesting to see what Hardy does in the Jazz’s next game. Will he go with Sexton or go with someone else?

The best option is probably Talen Horton-Tucker, who was fantastic in his 20 minutes tonight. THT finished the game with 14 points on 5/9 shooting from the field and 2/4 from three. He had just 2 assists, but that’s deceiving because THT is showing an improved ability to drive and kick to open shooters. Look at the difference in this play compared to what we saw from Sexton.

Look at the ball movement and how THT finds Clarkson in the corner. Clarkson misses the shot but it’s a great setup and something that could help the Jazz survive while Conley is out.

It’s not clear why THT didn’t get the start, he’s the best point guard option behind Mike Conley. Will Hardy go with THT in the starting lineup in their next game? Hardy might go with that because it looked like he was heated while talking with Sexton at one point.

There were some other bright points in this one. Lauri Markkanen is getting more and more consistent with his scoring. In their first time playing the Clippers, Marcus Morris did a good job of knocking Markkanen out of rhythm but not tonight. It’s really fun watching Markkanen grow every night.

Jordan Clarkson deserves a ton of credit. He’s a great locker room leader, but he’s also been great on the court this season. Tonight he scored 26 in 39 minutes with 4 assists. He was also a +7 in the loss. Without Clarkson this season wouldn’t be happening.