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Shorthanded Nets visit Utah to play the Jazz

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Milwaukee Bucks v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Oof. On night two of their five game road trip, the Brooklyn Nets got roasted by the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. After this game, they've got two more to go before getting back home.

The opponent tonight will be the Utah Jazz. With the offseason they had, it's safe to assume that the Jazz are expecting yo go on a deep playoff run this spring. After a relatively bumpy start, they've started to settle in. They won their game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco on Monday night. They're now riding a three-game winning streak and have not lost at home.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 9 PM.

Injuries

Caris Levert might be gone for a while with a sprained thumb. Eek. We’ll know more later Tuesday when the results of his MRI are disclosed.

Former Net Ed Davis has a fractured fibula and will be reevaluated in a few weeks. Emmanuel Mudiay and Dante Exum have both been out recently.

The game

For the second time this trip, the Nets have gotten the home team on the second night of a back-to-back. First it was Portland, now it's Utah. Funny scheduling quirk there.

Rim protection is incredibly valuable, and we'll be seeing one of the league's very best protectors tonight. Rudy Gobert has been excellent since he came into the league and has grown into an elite big man. Gobert is one of the best rebounders in the league, and Jarrett Allen will have to fight all night long if he wants to keep him off the boards. Allen was saddled with foul trouble in Phoenix, so he'll have to clean things up if he wants to stay out there for a while.

Hey, there goes Bojan Bogdanovic. Our old friend is now in Utah after spending two good seasons with the Indiana Pacers. As he's progressed in his NBA career, he's taken on bigger roles in his team's offense, and now he's playing the role of steady second option to Donovan Mitchell (Mitchell's nickname doesn't allow for sidekicks, so I'm missing a golden opportunity here to break. DAMN IT!). Bogdanovic has a career high usage rate so far, and he's managed to boost his 3-point percentage for the third straight season. He’s averaging 21.6 points a game. It's going to make for a tough night for Joe Harris. Quietly, Harris has been the team's second best player so far and his 3-point shooting is practically automatic at this point.

So who's going to be the second scoring option now? All signs point to Spencer Dinwiddie. He might get the start tonitht, but I think he'd be best suited running the second unit. Look for Garrett Temple to see more playing time.

Player to watch: Mike Conley

As the biggest acquisition the team made over the summer, a lot is riding on Conley's shoulders. When he's right, he can be a team's second scoring option (or even first if he's really feeling it) that delivers in the clutch, sets up his teammates, and plays solid perimeter defense. That hasn't been the case in Utah yet, but as Tavan Parker of SLC Dunk explains, we need to be patient with Conley:

I’m not going to sit here and argue that Conley has been good this season. Because he hasn’t been anywhere close. But I will say to have patience with a veteran point guard that’s on only the 2nd team of his career. Every point guard needs to time adjust and Mike is no different. He’ll become that vital piece that helps the Jazz reach their ceiling this season just like we all hoped for when the front office traded for him.

Give him a few months and he'll play like he usually does.

Kyrie Irving's Fabolous Bucket Getting Tour heads to Salt Lake City. Irving had his first bad game as a Net on Sunday, but he's been amazing otherwise. With Levert out, look for Irving to go off for a huge scoring night.

From the Vault

I was randomly thinking about Deron Williams a few days ago, and it really hit me: When we look back at his career, he won't have much, if any, support from the two franchises and fanbases that defined his career. Life is funny that way.

More reading: SLC Dunk