SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Despite trying to hold onto the top seed in the NBA with just 11 games left to play, the Utah Jazz suddenly find themselves severely shorthanded as they travel to face the Sacramento Kings.
However, the Jazz won’t be the only team in the matchup fighting with one hand tied behind their back.
The Jazz will be without their starting backcourt and Donovan Mitchell will miss his sixth game with a severe right ankle sprain. Meanwhile, guard Mike Conley will miss the game after re-aggravating his right hamstring in the Jazz 105-104 loss Monday to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While the Jazz look to cover the hourly 60 minutes of action they’ll lose from their top guards, the Kings will be without two starters of their own. Point guard De’Aaron Fox is in the NBA’s COVID-19 tracing protocol where he’s like to remain for at least another week.
Hours before tip-off, the team announced that starting forward Harrison Barnes would also miss the game with a groin injury.
Like the Jazz, both players are a major loss for the Kings. Fox leads the Kings in scoring at 25.2 points per game, while Barnes is averaging 21.6 points per game over his last five outings. Sacramento will also be without Marvin Bagley who hasn’t played since March 15.
The Kings have turned to rookie Tyrese Haliburton in Fox’s absence where the guard is averaging 19 points and 9.0 assists in two games as a starter. Reserve Chimezie Metu will likely get added minutes in the absence of Barnes.
The last time the Jazz were without both Conley and Mitchell to begin a game they turned to Sixth Man of the Year candidates Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson. The two played a combined 85 minutes in the Jazz 127-115 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on April 17.
Guard’s Trent Forrest, Matt Thomas, and Miye Oni will also be available for the Jazz.