Mike Conley was out for Game 1 of Utah’s second-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and it was evident when the team went cold from three and missed 21 straight. They missed Conley settling them down, getting better shots, running the pick-and-roll with Rudy Gobert. Still, the Jazz picked up the win thanks to 45 from Donovan Mitchell.
The Jazz will be without Conley in Game 2 as well.
Joe Igles will start again in his place.
There is no timetable for Conleys’ return. After Game 5 against Memphis, Conley said he hoped to return for Game 1 of the second round but has yet to be cleared by team medical staff.
Utah expects to play better in Game 2. “We’re not planning to miss 21 [in a row] tonight. That was the main thing we talked about in film today,” Ingles joked to the media Thursday. Despite dropping 45, Mitchell talked after Game 1 about all the things he could do better.
Expect better from the Clippers, too, who had played in a Game 7 against Dallas, then had to fly to Salt Lake and play at altitude against the team with the best record in the NBA two days later. Coach Tyronn Lue went 11 deep in the Clippers roster, experimenting with players and lineups, but should come out in Game 2 with a more focused game plan and rotation.
If the Clippers go down 0-2 to a Jazz team without Conley, it will be a much more difficult hole to climb out of than last round against the Mavericks.