Conley Snaps Out Of Slump, Though Jazz Lose To Bucks
Mar 14, 2022, 11:59 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2022, 12:12 am
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY – Despite leading by 11 points late in the third quarter, the Utah Jazz dropped another winnable game, falling to the Milwaukee Bucks 117-111.
The Jazz were playing without Bojan Bogdanovic who missed the game due to a calf strain and struggled to manufacture offense in the second and fourth quarters.
With the loss, the Jazz now have an even record with the Dallas Mavericks for the fourth seed in the Western Conference at 42-26.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 15, 2022
Mitchell Struggles In The Fourth Quarter
Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points to lead the Jazz in scoring along with Mike Conley but struggled badly in the fourth quarter contributing to the loss.
The All-Star guard had 27 points on 9-24 shooting entering the fourth but lost his rhythm in the final period.
Mitchell scored just two points on 1-8 shooting including 0-4 from the three-point line while adding an assist and a turnover over the final 12 minutes of the game.
The guard faced immense pressure at the rim where he’d previously been successful this season and missed a handful of open threes late that could have kept the Jazz within striking distance.
Jazz blown double-digit leads resulting in losses this season.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) March 15, 2022
Mitchell hasn’t been able to find the bottom of the net over his last 10 fourth quarters, shooting just 28 percent from the floor on five attempts per game.
The guard is the only regular rotation player shooting below 33 percent in the fourth quarter during the stretch as the Jazz have struggled to closeout opposing teams.
“My teammates trust me, I trust myself, I’m going to take the shots and make the right plays, I’ll be better,” Mitchell said after the game. “This one stings a little bit.”
Mitchell was shooting 46.7 percent in fourth quarters’ over the first 41 games of the season, the best of any non-center on the roster, so there should be optimism he can return to form. But lately, it’s been rough, and he’s the first to admit it.
Conley Breaks Out Of Slump
Though Mitchell struggled, Conley had his best game of 2022, scoring 29 points, the most since he matched that total on December 3 against the Boston Celtics.
The guard knocked down 10-13 from the floor including 6-9 from the three-point line to put an end to one of his worst stretches in a Jazz uniform.
Conley had been averaging 9.0 points while shooting 27 percent from the floor and 26 percent from the three-point line over his previous 12 games.
“The biggest thing that I’ve talked about is just continuing to be aggressive,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Conley. “That’s what he was tonight and whether the ball is going in or out, we need that from him and he gave it to us.”
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 15, 2022
In addition to 29 points, Conley added seven assists and just one turnover finding a rhythm with Rudy Gobert in the pick and roll.
“For a minute there it felt like everyone there was trying to stop me from scoring no matter what, lay-ups were getting blocked, I couldn’t get anything easy,” Conley said. “I just tried to step back and say ‘Hey, these are the areas you have to take your shots.”
Though seemingly every player on the roster has taken turns have down stretches throughout the season, if Conley’s worst basketball is behind him, it’s a promising sign ahead of the postseason.
With the recent high-level play from Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Hassan Whiteside, the Jazz are beginning to have key players hit their stride at the right time.
If Conley can join that contingent, the Jazz may well end up playing their best basketball of the season as the regular season winds down.
Bogdanovic Could Miss Multiple Games
Though Bogdanovic was a late scratch from Monday’s game with a calf strain, he could be out for an extended length of games.
Before the game, Snyder discussed Bogdanovic’s injury.
“A calf, from what I’m told, is kind of a unique situation where even if it’s a slight strain you want to make sure that it’s not going to get worse.”
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) March 14, 2022
Gobert also suffered a calf strain against the Golden State Warriors on January 23 and proceeded to missed the next nine games over a nearly three-week stretch.
Snyder didn’t indicate that the Jazz expected Bogdanovic to miss that much time, but was unsure if he’d be available on Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls.
“It’s hard to predict exactly how long it takes, whether it’s a game, two games, three games,” Snyder said. “I know how he is, he’ll I want to be out there soon as he can.”
The Jazz will also want the sharpshooter back with the team as quickly as possible. Bogdanovic has averaged 27.3 points on 56 percent shooting including 55 percent from the three-point line in his last four outings.
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