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Sports News | Healthier, Utah set for rematch with Phoenix

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Revenge is here!

Just 48 hours after a phenomenal performance with a very small roster, the Jazz have reinforcements on the way when they host first-place Phoenix on Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST and will air on ESPN.

“You get confidence playing hard and playing together,” head coach Quin Snyder said Monday night. “You get the confidence to have an identity, and our identity as a team has come and gone at times this year. So that confidence will come when we continue to perform at a certain level.”

When those two teams met Monday night, Utah was playing with one of its most disadvantaged rosters of the season. Not only were all five starters out due to injury, but the Jazz were also missing Joe Ingles, the first man to come off the bench.

Fortunately, four players are expected to return to the court tonight. Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Ingles are all expected to play, giving the Jazz a much-needed boost.

Bogdanovic’s return is key for Utah as he’s been sensational the past three games, averaging 24.3 points and 6.3 rebounds as the team’s primary scoring option.

Conley’s return is also a much-loved sight as the veteran point guard gives the Jazz a proven player to lead the attack and play defense, which is essential against Chris Paul and Devin Booker.

O’Neale is Utah’s best perimeter defenseman, which should come in handy after Booker dropped 33 points two nights ago. Ingles is the team’s other main ball handler, capable of influencing a game with his three-point shot and his ability to direct the attack.

While the good news is that Utah is nearing full strength, they will still be without key players in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert — stars with more than enough ability to win games on their own. Mitchell remains in concussion protocol while Gobert is out with a left calf strain.

Despite being severely hampered on Monday night, the Jazz put up a spirited effort as seven players finished in double figures.

Trent Forrest had a career night with 17 points and four steals – and with Mitchell still out, should continue to see an upside within minutes. Jordan Clarkson finished with a team-high 22 points, catching fire as he knocked down three straight three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to turn an 11-point deficit into a five-point game with just over a minute left.

But Utah eventually ran out of steam and couldn’t complete the comeback.

“I think that’s something our team needs to keep replicating night after night,” Snyder said. “It’s something that’s in our control. … Playing with that level of intensity.”

Utah (30-18, 15-9 at home / No. 4 in the Western Conference)
* 114.1 points per game (No. 1 in NBA)
* 115.9 Offensive Rating (#1 in NBA)

* 107.3 points per game (No. 12 in NBA)
* 108.9 Defensive Rating (No. 11 in NBA)

*Bojan Bogdanovic: 18.1 points / 4.2 rebounds / 38.7% shooting 3P
*Jordan Clarkson: 15.3 points / 3.5 rebounds / 26.3 minutes
*Mike Conley: 14.0 points / 5.2 assists / 42.4% 3P shooting
*Rudy Gay: 9.3 points / 4.7 rebounds / 20.3 minutes

Phoenix (37-9, 18-4 away / No. 1 in the Western Conference)
*112.5 points per game (#3 in NBA)
* 112.3 Offensive Rating (No. 4 in NBA)

* 104.6 points per game (No. 6 in NBA)
* 104.4 Defensive Rating (#2 in NBA)
*Devin Booker: 24.5 points / 5.4 rebounds / 4.4 assists / 37.8% shooting 3P
*Chris Paul: 14.4 points / 10.2 assists / 4.4 rebounds
*Mikal Bridges: 12.1 points / 4.1 rebounds / 37.5% 3P shooting
*Cam Johnson: 11.8 points / 43% 3P shots

Mike Conley vs. Chris Paul
– Two of the greatest playmakers of their generation face off on Wednesday night, each needed a big performance to help their team win. Paul dropped a near triple-double on Monday against the Jazz, but that was with Conley sidelined. Now back, expect Conley to not only defend Paul, but take a step back with Donovan Mitchell still out.

OUT — Donovan Mitchell (Concussion Protocol)
OUT – Rudy Gobert (left calf strain)

OUT – Deandre Ayton (sprained right ankle)
OUT – Jae Crowder (left wrist contusion)
OUT – Frank Kaminsky (right knee stress reaction)
OUT — Abdel Nader (Right Knee Injury Management)
OUT – Cameron Payne (right wrist sprain)
OUT – Dario Saric (Right ACL tear)

Time: 8:00 PM MST
Site: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet/ESPN
Radio: 1280 The Area

Healthier, Utah set for rematch with Phoenix

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