Ben AndersonSportsUtah Jazz

Jazz Face Pacers In Rare Afternoon Weekday Game

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will host the Indiana Pacers in a rare midday game on Friday.

Unlike the typical 7 or 8 pm MT tipoff, the Jazz and Pacers game will get underway at 1 pm MT clearing room for the Jazz to travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Saturday at 2:30 pm on ESPN.

The Jazz are coming off a 106-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday while the Pacers won on the road in Houston on Wednesday.

Jazz Expect Clarkson Back, Favors Doubtful

The Jazz injury report is beginning to feel like a game of musical chairs as they enter the final stretch of the regular season.

The team was without Royce O’Neale (rest), Joe Ingles (knee), and Jordan Clarkson (ankle) on Tuesday, but all three are expected back against Indiana.

O’Neale and Ingles both missed just one game while Clarkson who is listed as probable for Friday has missed the Jazz last four outings after a series of ankle injures throughout the season.

“The first time was Memphis at home,” Clarkson said of his injuries. “Then I twisted it again in Dallas, and I think we went to Phoenix after that and ended up twisting in the first or second quarter on a fast break.”

However, the Jazz might not have all of their regular rotational players as reserve center Derrick Favors is listed as doubtful with right knee soreness.

Favors has played in 53 of the Jazz 55 games this season including 36 straight, but if the veteran isn’t able to play, the Jazz can rely on second-year big man Juwan Morgan in his absence.

Morgan hasn’t played significant minutes since Favors last missed games, however, the Indiana product proved his value against the Dallas Mavericks with a 12 point, seven rebound performance on January 29.

Pacers Look To Build On Momentum

While the Jazz have won just three of their last six games, the Pacers are playing some of their best basketball of the season, especially on the offensive side of the floor.

Indiana is 4-1 in their last five games and own the league’s second-best offensive rating during the stretch scoring 119.5 points per 100 possessions. Their wins include games of 132, 132, and 141 points dating back to April 7.

Despite their high-scoring outings, their wins have not been blowouts. The Pacers have a defensive rating of 116.2 during the same stretch and have allowed four of their last five opponents to score at least 124 points.

The recently acquired Caris LeVert has carried Indiana’s explosive offense of late. The guard is averaging 23.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists during the hot streak.

Pacers center Myles Turner is listed as questionable after missing the last five games with an ankle injury.

Key Matchup

Friday’s key matchup will pit the two of the NBA’s most underrated guards in Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Conley against one another.

Along with LeVert, Brogdon has been on a tear over the last three games. The big-bodied guard is averaging 27 points. 9.3 rebounds, and 8.0 assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 46 percent from the three-point line on eight attempts per game.

Conley returned to the Jazz lineup against Oklahoma City after missing Monday night’s game against Washington Wizards. The veteran guard is averaging 16.5 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 41 percent in his second season with the Jazz.

Broadcast

Friday’s midday broadcast will air locally on AT&T SportsNet and nationally on NBATV.

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