Tagged in: Utah Jazz

‘No one knows’ time frame for Kawhi Leonard’s return from ACL injury

Lawrence Frank reiterated that Kawhi Leonard has a “significant rehab” from his ACL injury and that “no one knows” the time frame for when the LA Clippers star will return and whether he will play this campaign.

Leonard underwent surgery to repair a partial tear in his right ACL on July 13 and is expected to be out for an extended period of time.

“Oh, we don’t even breach that,” Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, stated when asked if he anticipates Leonard playing this season.

“I think at this point, it’s just no one knows when you’re dealing with a recovery from an ACL [injury], the time frame.

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“Even just to save you guys [from asking] throughout the year, is no one knows. You just attack it day by day. He has a very detailed plan with a great group, and we’ll just let his body and the doctors tell us when it’s the right time.”

Leonard injured his knee during the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals versus the Utah Jazz on June 14.

He missed the Clippers’ final eight playoff matches with what the team called a sprained right knee.

Center Serge Ibaka, who is recovering from back surgery in June during the playoffs, will be limited and participate in noncontact drills to start training camp, Frank said.

Rookie point guard Jason Preston, the 33rd overall pick in the 2021 draft, injured his foot in a group workout this week and will not be available to start training camp next week in San Diego. Frank stated the severity of the rookie’s injury will be determined in the next couple of days.

Frank also would not discuss whether Clippers players and staff members were fully vaccinated as camp is set to start Tuesday.

“Personally, I’m a huge advocate of the vaccinations. I believe in the science and believe in the evidence as a personal viewpoint,” Frank said.

“But in regard to speaking on behalf of players or staff, I’m not comfortable sharing that type of information other than personally, what my beliefs are and what we spread and what we educate everyone in the organization. But ultimately, that’s not my news to share.”

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Donovan Mitchell returns to practice, expects to play in Sunday’s playoff opener for Utah Jazz

All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell practiced Thursday for the first time since spraining his right ankle more than a month ago and plans to play in the Utah Jazz’s playoff opener.

“That’s the goal,” Mitchell said. “Barring any setbacks, God forbid — knock on wood — that’s the goal. I’m just trying to go out there and be there for my teammates and try to help to go out there and win a championship. That’s the goal. It’s been the goal all year.”

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Mitchell, who averaged career bests of 26.4 points and 5.2 assists per game this season, sat out the last 16 games as the 52-20 Jazz wrapped up the NBA’s best record and the top overall seed.

Utah will open the playoffs Sunday at home against the winner of the Western Conference play-in game between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Mitchell suffered the injury April 16 against the Indiana Pacers when he jumped to try to deflect a long outlet pass and came down awkwardly with his foot underneath Indiana guard Edmond Sumner.

Mitchell has ramped up his on-court work in the past two weeks, staying in Salt Lake City when the team was on the road to work out with assistant coach Keyon Dooling, but hadn’t participated in competitive, full-contact action until Thursday.

Mitchell said that the ankle still has some soreness but that he didn’t experience any significant pain. “Practice was good,” Mitchell said.

“I got out there and competed. You could definitely tell it was the first time in four or five weeks, but that’s to be expected. I’m just trying to find ways to get back in a groove.”

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Nuggets versus Jazz game 7 preview

The Denver Nuggets came back from a two-game deficit and now have an opportunity to eliminate the Utah Jazz. It’s game 7 between these two sides, in the arguably the most interesting matchup of the playoffs so far.

As said above, this is by far the most interesting first-round matchup of them all so far. At first, Denver took the lead, after that, Utah nailed the next three events, but Denver responded, which is why we have a Game 7 coming up our way.

The stakes are high, so expect a fierce clash, like there is no tomorrow. One more info, whoever triumphs here, will meet the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. 

Jamal Murray is in the elite echelon of scorers in the league, and that is something we knew already. But we didn’t know that the Canadian was this good. He has three consecutive games with 40 or more buckets, and two with 50+ during that time.

So far, he’s been the leading scorer in the playoffs with 37.6 points. Though, all his previous games won’t be important if, by any chance, Denver loses. He already has a label of being soft and without guts when needed the most, and this is the perfect chance for shutting down all the critics. 

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The way Murray plays, Donovan Mitchell is just one tiny bit better.

He, too, has multiple 50+ points, but unlike Murray, he is much more consistent. The Spida, however, is without the right sidekick in the last few matches, and that is why we saw the Jazz losing those matches.

In order for Quin Snyder’s team success, they have to see Mike Conley perfect. The veteran point guard is Jazz’s X-factor. Also, Joe Ingles needs to have a more important part in the attack.

The momentum is on Denver’s side, and that is why we have to back their victory in this contest. The odds are at -110 for the Nuggets to triumph. We believe that they are mentally stronger, that is have much higher morale than Utah’s guys, who are irritated with all the missed chances for securing the next stage.

Just to remind, both Gobert and Mitchell had outbursts following Game 6, smashing and bashing stuff while exiting the court.

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Utah Jazz undergo layoffs amid coronavirus pandemic

The first organization in the NBA has formally made layoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A small percentage” of the Utah Jazz workforce — as part of larger overall layoffs within the Larry H. Miller Group — lost their jobs on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The layoffs, per the report, were limited to non-basketball staff members, though it’s unclear how many lost their jobs. Some employees will also start taking pay reductions.

“Due to the impact on our customer-facing businesses from this unprecedented pandemic, the [Miller Group] …. unfortunately had to make difficult decisions to reduce a small percentage of our workforce,” the organization said in a statement, via Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Over the past several weeks, we have worked to manage and reduce costs, including executive compensation, and have reached a point where we have had to say farewell to a limited number of our valued employees.

“We have connected with our associates with outplacement services and aligned them with employers who have immediate hiring needs. We remain focused on helping our communities stay healthy.”

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The NBA suspended operations on March 11, just moments after Jazz veteran Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Several others across the league have since tested positive, including Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Knicks owner James Dolan and others. There is still no plan in place for a return this campaign, though plenty of ideas have been floated should the league be able to return at all.

Many teams have created plans and funds to help displaced arena and staff workers amid the league hiatus in recent weeks, led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who announced he was setting up a plan the same night the league shut down. 

The Philadelphia 76ers briefly announced that it was planning to reduce employee salaries, however quickly shut that down after immense public backlash. 

The Jazz are the first organization to officially introduce layoffs, however several others are looking into that option, according to ESPN.

The NBA reportedly asked players to take a 50 percent pay cut starting on April 15 on Friday, though the NBPA countered with a 25 percent pay cut starting in mid-May.

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Houston Rockets to sign verterans Green, Carroll

The Houston Rockets are keeping busy during the All-Star break, with plans to sign veteran forwards DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Green, according to multiple media reports Monday.

Green, who has been a free agent since Utah Jazz waived him on December 24, is estimated to sign a 10-day contract as early as Tuesday, according to league sources at ESPN.

Sources indicate he will be offered a deal for the rest of the season if he feels comfortable enough to commit to it.

Carroll, who took a buyout from the San Antonio Spurs on Monday after playing only 15 games (averaging 2.2 points, 2.1 rebounds a game), needs to clear waivers before signing with the Rockets.

“I don’t know what went wrong, what happened,” Carroll said via the San Antonio Express-News about his short stint with the Spurs after signing as a free agent last summer.

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“I felt like San Antonio was going to be a great place for me, for my talents, but it didn’t work out.”

Carroll, 33, is in his 11th NBA campaign, having started his career with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009 after they made him a first-round pick in that year’s NBA draft.

During the 2010-11 season, he played for the Rockets, and also had stints with the Denver Nuggets (2011-12), Utah Jazz (2011-13), Atlanta Hawks (2013-15), Toronto Raptors (2015-17) and Brooklyn Nets (2017-19). In 569 career games, he has averaged 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds.

The six-foot-eight Green, also 33, has career averages of 13.0 points and 4.4 rebounds a game while playing for eight NBA franchises, beginning his 13-year career with the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007-08.

During his time with the franchise that became the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green was team-mates with current Rockets players James Harden and Russell Westbrook. His other stops included the Boston Celtics, Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards.

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Jazz take 5 game win streak to New Orleans

The Utah Jazz are among the best defensive teams in the NBA.

But they have shown they can lean on their offense when they need to as they prepare to visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.

When they hosted the Pelicans on Nov. 23, two-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was sidelined by a sprained ankle, so the Jazz scored a season-high in points in a 128-120 victory.

Donovan Mitchell had a season-high 37 in that game, and he had 32 in a 109-96 win versus Orlando on Saturday. After making eight 3-pointers through the first three quarters, they made the same number in the fourth quarter.

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“I told the team,” coach Quin Snyder said, “if the defense is solid, you give yourself a chance and eventually guys will get going.”

The guy most responsible for getting the offense going is point guard Mike Conley, but he has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. In his absence, Joe Ingles has been filling that role, helping the Jazz win five in a row and 10 of their past 11 matches.

“I think I’d rather have assists than points to be honest with you,” Ingles said. “I couldn’t care less about scoring. I feel like my role on the team is to get other guys involved.

“My only focus going in is defensively who I’m matched up on and trying to get all these guys easy shots. The more I can do to get them easy looks or easy shots, that’s what I’m out there to do.”

The Pelicans have won five of their last six matches after splitting a set of back-to-back games in California.

They lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 123-113 on Friday before getting a last-second 117-115 triumph against the Sacramento Kings the following night.

Rookie Zion Williamson participated in his first full practice before the Pelicans left for their brief road trip, though New Orleans has not set a date for his return from arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 21.

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Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets

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Game #33: Rockets (16-19) @ Jazz (15-17) 
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m. (MT) 

The Rockets look to end a 4-game losing streak when they take on the Jazz in Utah.

The Jazz will be eager to avoid a third straight loss after getting thumped by the Spurs in a 123-98 rout last night. Trey Burke led the team with 21 points in just 24 minutes off the bench, Gordon Hayward added 18 points while Jeff Withey had 10 points, but no other player finished in double figures as the Jazz were just no match for the Spurs last night. With the loss, Utah falls to 15-19 on the season overall and 5-11 on the road where they’ve lost six straight.

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The Rockets had lost four straight before sneaking past the Jazz in a 93-91 win at Utah on Monday. James Harden led the way with 30 points and seven assists, Dwight Howard added 16 points and 13 rebounds while Trevor Ariza had 13 as the Rockets fought back from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Jazz and improve to 17-19 on the season and 7-10 on the road.

In ATS trends, the Jazz are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games and 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games playing on zero days rest, while the Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games and 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall.

The key for Houston tonight will be rebounding once again. In the first leg, Houston outshot the Jazz 49% to 40%. They outshot the Jazz from 3 and shot a higher percentage from the free throw line as well. Turnovers and assists were basically the same as well. So what was the difference? Rebounding. The Jazz grabbed 10 extra boards, including 15 offensive rebounds. Basically, the Rockets were better or equal to the Jazz in every way except taht one. We’ll see if JBB and the team understands that tonight.

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Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings

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The Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings square off Tuesday night at the Sleep Train Arena.

The Utah Jazz could use a strong road victory to get a game above a .500 record. The Utah Jazz are averaging 97.3 points on 44 percent shooting and allowing 95.9 points on 44.3 percent shooting. Gordon Hayward is averaging 18.6 points and 3.1 assists while Derrick Favors is averaging 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds. Rodney Hood is dishing 2.9 assists and Trevor Booker is grabbing 5.9 rebounds. The Utah Jazz are shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc and 74.4 percent from the free throw line. The Jazz are shooting 40.6 percent from deep in their last five games and have won eight of their last 10 games when scoring 100 or more points. The Utah Jazz have split their last 10 road games

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The Sacramento Kings are desperate for a victory after losing five of their last six games. The Sacramento Kings are averaging 104.8 points on 44.9 percent shooting and allowing 108.8 points on 46.6 percent shooting. DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 25.2 points and 10.5 rebounds while Rajon Rondo is averaging 12.3 points and 10.9 assists. Rudy Gay is grabbing 6.7 rebounds and Darren Collison is dishing 4.1 assists. The Sacramento Kings are shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc and 72.4 percent from the free throw line. The Kings are allowing 39.1 percent shooting from deep in their last five games and have lost 13 of their last 16 when allowing 100-plus points. The Sacramento Kings have split their last eight home games.

The Jazz are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Western Conference and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Kings are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Tuesday games and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs. Western Conference. The Jazz are 3-1-2 ATS in the last 6 meetings.

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Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz

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The The Orlando Magic visit Vivint Smart Home Arena to take on the Utah Jazz. The game starts at 9:00 pm ET on Thursday, Dec. 3

Orlando Magic had a hard enough time holding off Utah three weeks ago, and that was with the Jazz missing two starters.

Looking to win five straight games for the first time in nearly four years, the visiting Magic expect a much tougher test Thursday night against a Jazz team that nearly handed Golden State its first loss.

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ABOUT THE MAGIC (10-8): Orlando built a 17-point lead in the opener of its road trip at Minnesota on Monday before hanging on for a 96-93 victory. “I feel like last year we would have lost that game,” Magic guard Victor Oladipo told reporters. “We’re growing up a lot, but we’ve just got to build on it.” Orlando is thriving at the defensive end and held its last four opponents to an average of 91.3 points with Oladipo (three blocks and two steals on Monday) leading the charge for the reserves.

ABOUT THE JAZZ (8-8): Utah owns one of the better defenses in the league, and its latest results are a reflection of that unit’s consistency. The Jazz allowed over 100 points in each of their last four losses while surrendering 96 or fewer in each of the last four wins. Utah yielded an average of 89 points in back-to-back wins before allowing the Warriors to shoot 48.8 percent from the floor and 14-of-29 from 3-point range in Monday’s loss.

Orlando won the last meeting this season between these two teams, but the Jazz still lead the head-to-head record, 8-2 SU, over the last 10 matchups. Additionally, with a 6-4 record, the Jazz have the advantage ATS.

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