Jazz All-Star point guard Mike Conley made his first appearance in the second-round series against the Clippers in Game 6. Conley admitted after the Jazz were eliminated on Friday that he was far from 100% due his hamstring tightness, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.
“Initially, I was told I wasn’t going to be able to play at all this series, just last Friday,” Conley said. “This maybe being the last game of the season, I had to give it a try. But I couldn’t move well. It was a tough night.”
Conley, an unrestricted free agent this summer, scored just five points on 1-for-8 shooting and committed six turnovers in the 131-119 loss.
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- Conley’s backcourt partner, Donovan Mitchell, was also a game-time decision due to an ankle injury. Mitchell poured in 39 points and nine assists but his 40-minute stint was painful in more ways than one, Walden tweets. “It (bleeping) hurt. Just tried to play through it. … I was just trying to find a way, by any means necessary,” he said.
- Losing the last four games of the series and squandering a 25-point lead in Game 6 will haunt Mitchell, Walden adds in another tweet. “I’m still in shock. … I don’t know what I’m going to be doing next week,” he said. “Probably watching the games, mad as hell. This hurts more than last year. This is going to eat at me for a long time.” However, Mitchell isn’t blaming the coaching staff for the collapse, according to Walden (Twitter link). “The coaches made great adjustments. And we just didn’t execute,” he said. “That’s on the players on the floor.”
- Rudy Gobert believes the tougher team won the series, Walden relays (Twitter link). “They were the tougher team over the course of the series, more connected over the course of the series,” he said of the Clippers. “For us, it’s pretty much the story of our season. For us to take another step in the playoffs, a lot of things are gonna have to be better.”
- Picking up on Gobert’s theme, Tony Jones of The Athletic opines that the Jazz are probably not near a championship-level team despite having the league’s best record. Playing without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers turned up the intensity in the second half of Game 6 and the Jazz failed to match their physicality and got out-hustled.