CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 05: Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz looks for a pass during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 05, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Jazz defeated the Cavaliers 109-108. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Welcome Back, Joe Ingles

After a tough three-game stretch where the Jazz missed multiple key players in each contest, reinforcements arrive as Joe Ingles makes his return to the court when Utah hosts Cleveland on Wednesday night

Reinforcements are returning just in time.

After a tough three-game stretch where the Jazz fell to Toronto, Indiana, and Detroit, Utah returns home looking to return to its winning ways. Standing in their way is Cleveland, one of the most improved teams in the league — with tipoff set for 7 p.m. MST. 

Throughout the losses, the Jazz missed multiple key players in each contest. While it's not an excuse, playing without key players such as Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles severely hampered the Jazz on both ends of the court. 

"Well, there's a guy named Rudy Gobert that wasn't out there," head coach Quin Snyder said postgame against Detroit. "I don't think there's any mystery in that if the Defensive Player of the Year is not on the floor, you're not going to be as good defensively,"

While Gobert is still sidelined in health and safety protocols, the Jazz will be getting some help when they take on the Cavaliers. After missing the last four games due to health and safety protocols, Ingles make this return to the lineup.

In a move that is sure to bolster the Jazz on offense, Ingles' return comes when Utah is struggling on the offensive end of the court. Not only are the shooting percentages down across the board, but the Jazz also averaged five points lower before the losing streak. 

Not only can Ingles stretch the floor — 37.6% from three-point territory — his ability to facilitate the offense and dictate the pace for the second unit should allow the Jazz to thrive in minutes with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley on the bench. 

The teams are no strangers to one another, having played on Dec. 5 in Cleveland. Mitchell dropped 35 points in the victory, helping hold off a big night by Darius Garland and his 31 points. 

STATS
Utah (28-13, 14-7 home / No. 3 Western Conference)
Offense
*115.7 Points Per Game (No. 1 in NBA)
*116.7 Offensive Rating (No. 1 in NBA)

Defense
*107.5 Points Per Game (No. 13 in NBA)
*108.5 Defensive Rating (No. 13 in NBA)

*Donovan Mitchell: 25.9 points / 5.2 assists / 3.8 rebounds
*Bojan Bogdanovic: 18.2 points / 4.2 rebounds / 41% 3P-territory
*Mike Conley: 14.0 points / 5.4 assists / 3.0 rebounds / 42.4% 3P-territory
*Jordan Clarkson: 15.1 points / 3.5 rebounds / 25.8 minutes

Cleveland (23-18, 12-9 away / No. 6 Eastern Conference)
Offense
*107.2 Points Per Game (No. 22 in NBA)
*109.9 Offensive Rating (No. 14 in NBA)

Defense
*102.5 Points Per Game (No. 2 in NBA)
*105.0 Defensive Rating (No. 3 in NBA)

*Darius Garland: 19.4 points / 7.3 assists / 38% 3P-territory
*Jarrett Allen: 16.9 points / 10.9 rebounds / 1.5 blocks
*Evan Mobley: 14.8 points / 8.1 rebounds / 1.8 blocks
*Kevin Love: 14.2 points / 7.4 rebounds / 41.1% 3P-territory / 21.5 minutes

MATCHUP TO WATCH
Mike Conley vs. Darius Garland
— When these two teams met just over a month ago, Garland nearly beat the Jazz by dropping 31 points in the game. In the rematch, expect the Jazz to focus a lot on Garland, which brings us to Conley. Most likely to defend the young point guard, the best way for Conley to be effective is to make life difficult for Garland.

INJURY REPORT
Utah
QUESTIONABLE — Joe Ingles (Return to Competition Reconditioning)
QUESTIONABLE — Norvel Pelle (non-COVID related illness)
OUT — Udoka Azubuike (Health & Safety Protocols)
OUT — Jared Butler (Health & Safety Protocols)
OUT — Malik Fitts (right wrist injury)
OUT — Rudy Gay (Health & Safety Protocols)
OUT — Rudy Gobert (Health & Safety Protocols)
OUT — Elijah Hughes (Health & Safety Protocols)

Cleveland
QUESTIONABLE — Rajon Rondo (right hamstring soreness)
OUT — Isaac Okoro (left elbow sprain)
OUT — Ricky Rubio (left knee ACL tear)
OUT — Collin Sexton (left knee meniscal tear)

BROADCAST INFORMATION
Time: 7:00 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280 The Zone 

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