|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CT0:00 , October 26, 2019
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah Attendance: 18,306
Conley hopes for turnaround as Jazz host Kings
The first two games of Mike Conley's tenure with the Utah Jazz haven't gone well.
Conley will look to find his shooting stroke on Saturday when the Jazz host the Sacramento Kings in Salt Lake City.
Conley is just 4-of-27 shooting while Utah split its first two games. He suffered through a 1-for-16 effort in a season-opening win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and followed up with a 3-of-11 showing in Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The longtime point guard admits that he is pressing slightly at times but figures things can change with one good performance.
"Sometimes it's like being in quicksand, you try harder and harder and it seems you keep digging yourself into that hole," Conley said after Friday's game. "I can't shy away from good looks. I'm getting a lot of opportunities, and I'm just not making them.
"It's really frustrating for me but I'm not worried about it."
The former Memphis Grizzlies star is averaging 9.0 points and 4.0 assists as he adjusts to a new system.
That lack of familiarity was apparent in Friday's 95-86 loss to the Lakers, and it wasn't limited to Conley. The Jazz committed 23 turnovers and trailed by as many as 22 points. They had just 55 points through three quarters in a performance that was disappointing to coach Quin Snyder.
"We were hesitant offensively and didn't play with a lot of force, and that hesitancy hurt us throughout the game," Snyder said afterward. "We just need to be stronger with the ball. We need to be more decisive, and we need to be more precise."
Utah might see some offensive improvement against the Kings, who have allowed 124 and 122 points while losing their first two games under new coach Luke Walton.
Sacramento won't know until sometime Saturday whether it will have sparkplug point guard De'Aaron Fox.
Fox had a stellar all-around game in Friday's 122-112 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers with 28 points, six rebounds and five assists, but he suffered a hip injury in the final minutes.
"It was just the way I landed. It's not too bad," Fox said afterward. "We're going to work on it. We have a quick turnaround tomorrow. I feel like I go, but it's all up to them and how I feel in the morning."
Buddy Hield scored 21 points, but the team's shaky defense was on his mind. He knows giving up 120 or more points is no way to win an NBA game.
"Everybody has to take the challenge on and limit the guys to their average," Hield said. "And get stops and rebounds and doing it collectively ... if you want to be a good team, we have to be at our best."
The Kings are also still figuring out the best way to replace promising power forward Marvin Bagley III, who broke his right thumb in the season-opening 124-95 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Nemanja Bjelica drew the start against Portland and had nine points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. Bjelica started 70 of 77 games played last season and averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Kings forward Harry Giles III (knee) is expected to miss his third straight game, while Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle) could sit out for the second straight night.
Meanwhile, Conley is happy for the back-to-back. He sees another opportunity to break out of his slump.
"That's the beauty of the league," Conley said. "You can't think about it too much."
The Jazz went 3-1 against Sacramento last season and have won eight of the past nine meetings.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 26, 2019