Home sweet home.
Utah returns to the comfortable confines of Vivint Arena tonight when it hosts Atlanta, the beginning of a five-game homestand. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST, and tickets can be purchased HERE.
Back at home
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 9, 2021
It’s been a long start to the season for the Jazz.
Ten games in and Utah hasn’t played in back-to-back cities this year, the only team in the top-8 of either conference yet to do so. Despite seven games coming on the road, Utah sits at 7-3 and in second place in the Western Conference standings.
That’s why the homestand comes at a perfect time for the players. It allows them to establish a routine again, all while spending time with their families.
“A lot of us have had up and down games, we haven’t been able to have a complete game where we feel good about it,” Mike Conley said Tuesday. “I think finding consistency, and a good place to do that is being at home for a good stretch, being in a routine you’re familiar with. It’s a little bit easier because you’re a little more familiar with everything.”
It also helps to return to Vivint Arena and the fans, a place where Jordan Clarkson says the team is comfortable and knows what to expect every time they step onto the court.
“Playing at home is where, this is where we at, this our crib,” Clarkson said following Tuesday’s shootaround. “We know those rims, we know our crowd, we know the floor, we know everything. Ain’t nothing changing in there so we know how it goes in Utah.”
The Jazz are no strangers to the Hawks, having played in Atlanta five nights ago. Utah used a big second half, outscoring Atlanta by 19 after halftime to get the 116-98 victory.
Clarkson broke out of an early-season slump in a significant way, finishing with a season-high 30 points, 25 of which came within the final 24 minutes of action. He finished 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-10 from three-point territory, adding four rebounds and three assists for good measure.
“In my mind, I just try to continue to be myself,” Clarkson said postgame. “My teammates, all the way down the line to the coaches, the owner, all of them coming up to me and saying ‘JC keep shooting.’ Don (Mitchell) before the game telling me, ‘Bro, it’s going to happen, when you start hitting, it’s going to keep falling.’ … Hats off to them.”
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 5, 2021
Despite the off-night shooting, head coach Quin Snyder praised Utah’s defensive effort.
The Jazz held Atlanta to 36.2% from the floor and 12.5% from beyond the arc in the first half, outrebounding the Hawks 29-19.
“I thought our defense was really solid, which allowed us to be in a position so when our offense kicked in, we were right there,” Snyder said last Thursday. “I think it’s one of those games where the bad things are actually the good things. … We felt like we were getting pretty good looks, but we weren’t making them.”
The Jazz are currently on a two-game losing streak following losses to Miami and Orlando this past weekend. While the offense continues to be a work in progress, Utah is looking to be tighter on defense in transition after struggling in a big way against the Magic.
“Right now, we are not even worried about the offense, we just trying to worry about defense,” Clarkson said. “Offense is what we do, that’s it. … It’s Utah basketball.”
After missing the game against Orlando on Sunday, Conley is back in the lineup against the Hawks.
It’s a huge boost considering he held Atlanta star Trae Young, to 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the floor and 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, finishing with -7 rating. Meanwhile, Conley finished with 13 points and 11 assists, including a +18 rating.
Conley was sitting out due to precautionary reasons, as Snyder has said repeatedly that the plan is to rest him for one game during back-to-backs. But feeling fresher than he has in a very long time, Conley is ready to get back on the court again.
*Rudy Gay: OUT / right heel recovery
*Udoka Azubuike: OUT / G League – On Assignment
*Jared Butler: OUT / G League – On Assignment
*Elijah Hughes: QUESTIONABLE / non-COVID related illness
*Onyeka Okongwu: OUT / right shoulder injury recovery
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Network
Radio: 1280 The Zone