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Woj: Jazz to Sit Gobert, Conley, Favors vs. Lakers After Mitchell's Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2021

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert warms up before their NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Utah Jazz will reportedly sit center Rudy Gobert, guard Mike Conley and center Derrick Favors against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Jazz are listing "injury recovery" as the reason for their absence.

Saturday's game will be the second half of a back-to-back after Utah beat the Indiana Pacers 119-111 on Friday.

The Jazz will also be without All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell after he left Friday's game with an ankle injury. Per Wojnarowski, the MRI on Mitchell's sprained right ankle came back negative, but he is still expected to miss "several" games.

The Jazz own the NBA's best record at 42-14, and they hold a 1.5-game lead over the 40-15 Phoenix Suns for first place in the Western Conference.

They will face a Lakers team that has been ravaged by injuries this season and will once again be without their top two players in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Despite the injuries, the Lakers have continued to compete and own a 34-22 record, which is good for fifth in the West. Utah's decision to sit several key players comes at an ideal time for L.A., as it must stay above seventh place in order to avoid having to play its way into the playoffs.

The Lakers lead the seventh-place Dallas Mavericks by 3.5 games, and a win over Utah would create an even bigger cushion.

With Mitchell, Gobert and Conley on the shelf for Saturday's game, it can be argued that the Jazz will be without their three best players. Favors is also a big loss since he is a key contributor off the bench.

Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 26.4 points per game, Conley is the leader in assists with 5.7 per contest and Gobert leads in both rebounding (13.6) and blocks (2.9).

Remarkably, the Jazz have a solid group even without Mitchell, Gobert, Conley and Favors, which speaks to the depth the front office has accrued.

On Saturday, the trio of Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic figures to carry the load offensively for Utah.

Clarkson is second on the team in scoring (17.2) and second in three-pointers made per game (3.0), while Bogdanovic is fourth in both of those categories with 15.4 points and 2.4 treys per contest.

Ingles is a do-everything player who sixth in scoring (11.9), fifth in three-point shooting (2.7) and third in assists (4.2).

Royce O'Neale and Georges Niang also figure to play big minutes in the frontcourt, with veteran Ersan Ilyasova potentially chipping in as well.

Depth will be the biggest issue for Utah on Saturday, which is something the Lakers must try to take advantage of even without James and Davis in their own lineup.