Utah Jazz: Joe Ingles should have productive night with All-Star out

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /

One Utah Jazz starter will rest, meaning a trustworthy fill-in might shine.

When the Utah Jazz starting lineup takes the floor in a makeup game against the Washington Wizards (14-25) at 5 p.m. MT Thursday — the Jazz’s third game in a five-game road trip — it will be without All-Star guard Mike Conley.

Per Ben Anderson of KSL Sports, Conley is resting a sore right hamstring. That injury has already led to the 33-year-old full-time starter missing seven games in February.

However, Conley has played in five straight outings for the Jazz (29-10), seeing more than 30 minutes in four of those five and scoring in double figures in all five.

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Considering that Joe Ingles, an 82-game starter in 2018-19, has been the starter in all seven of Mike Conley’s absences this season in addition to the two other occasions a starter has been out, it is probably safe to assume the 6-foot-8 sharpshooter will again get the nod on Thursday night.

After all, the league-leading Utah Jazz’s encouraging 131-119 win at the Boston Celtics (20-20) might have been a loss if not for Ingles’ spark late in the first quarter. He finished the game with 14 points, hitting four of his eight 3-point attempts.

Furthermore, the 33-year-old Australian has a penchant for capitalizing on this type of fill-in opportunity. Across his nine total starts this season, Ingles has averaged 16.4 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game with a blistering 3-point clip of 31-for-63 (49.2 percent).

Of course, while all those stats are better than his season numbers, it’s only fair to point out that Ingles has been consistently productive, starter or not, in what is his seventh year in the NBA (all with Utah).

Yes, this season, “Slow-Mo Joe” is averaging 11.4 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game. And he’s on track to set career-high shooting percentages across the board: 52.3 percent from the field, 89.5 percent from the charity stripe, and 46.3 percent from beyond the arc, which currently ranks No. 4 in the league.

Now, assuming Joe Ingles is indeed the replacement starter with no other Jazz starters sitting this one out, the squad will continue to lead the NBA in terms of the fewest number of starting combinations this season with only three thus far.

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It’s just another sign of the Utah Jazz continuity that noticeably contributes to their winning ways.