UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Face Hungry Spurs In Two-Game Series

May 3, 2021, 2:48 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm
San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)...
San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs will face off in a two-game series that will have a major impact on the Western Conference standings.

Both teams have found themselves significantly shorthanded as the season winds to a close while also fighting to maintain seeding in the Western Conference playoff chase.

The Jazz will be without their All-Star backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Monday night, while the Spurs are expected to have DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and Dejounte Murray in uniform after missing Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jazz Trying To Get Healthy As Season Closes

With just eight games left to play, it seems the Jazz focus has shifted towards end-of-season health rather than overall seeding.

The Jazz are tied with the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA but continue to battle without major pieces in the rotation.

Donovan Mitchell will miss his ninth consecutive game spraining his ankle against the Indiana Pacers on April 16. The team announced Saturday that Mitchell would miss the remainder of the week before being re-evaluated this weekend.

Mike Conley will miss his fourth consecutive game after re-aggravating his hamstring injury one week ago against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Conley originally suffered the injury in early February and missed six games as a result. The guard felt tightness after the Jazz loss in Minnesota but told ESPN the injury wasn’t serious and that he and the team were being cautious to ensure he can return at full health.

The Jazz are 2-1 over their last three games without Conley or Mitchell, including a 106-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 34 points in the win to allow the Jazz to keep pace with the Suns atop the West.

Spurs Looking To Lock In Play-In Berth

While the Jazz continue to play without important pieces in their backcourt, the Spurs are expected to welcome DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, and Jakob Poeltl back to the line one night after an overtime loss to the East-leading 76ers.

The Spurs lost at the buzzer on a Ben Simmons tip-in despite playing severely undermanned.

San Antonio currently sits in 10th place in the Western Conference and would face the ninth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament if the regular season ended today.

The Spurs own a 2.5 game lead over the New Orleans Pelicans for the final spot in the play-in tournament and have a magic number of six before clinching a spot in the postseason

San Antonio sits just one half-game behind Golden State for the ninth seed in the West, though the Warriors own the season tie-breaker.

Key Matchup

The key matchup between the two teams will pit Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic and against the Spurs Keldon Johnson.

Bogdanovic has scored 30 points or more in three of his last 11 outings, equalling his season total before the recent hot stretch. Over his last 11 games, the Croatian sharpshooter is averaging 22.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting an impressive 46 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three.

Johnson meanwhile continues to impress in his second season in San Antonio. The sophomore forward averages 13 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three.

Broadcast

The Jazz and Spurs tip-off at 8 pm. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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