Mike Conley delivered a vintage performance on Saturday night in his first road playoff game in Memphis, writes ESPN’s Nick Friedell. The veteran point guard made a memorable comeback with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds as the Jazz won a match 3 victory.
Conley spent 12 years with the Grizzlies and was a fan favorite before being traded to Utah in 2019. This first-round streak sees him wrestling with the second-year guard. Ja Morant, which has become the new face of the franchise.
“It’s amazing to play against a guy like Ja, first of all,” said Conley. “Just to see such a talented guy, he’s a young league superstar, wearing the jersey I’m so used to wearing. Receive the cheers of the crowd that I am so used to hearing. It’s surreal. It’s like a full circle. You never thought it would be like this. I never did, at least. It’s like sometimes you live long enough to be the villain, and now I am for the Memphis Grizzlies.
There is more to the Northwest Division:
- Rudy Gobert thought of Mark Eaton after Saturday’s victory, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Eaton, a former jazz center and shot blocker, died on Friday at the age of 64. “I know if he was there I would have received a text after the game saying ‘a way to protect the big guy from the paint'” Said Gobert.
- nuggets coach Michael malone called his team – and especially their starters – after an unbalanced loss to Portland in Saturday’s Game 4, writes ESPN’s Royce Young. With a chance to go up 3-1 in the series, Denver came out flat and never seriously challenged the Trail Blazers. The Nuggets’ starting unit was outscored 49-26 and shot 30% from the field while Portland made 65% of its shots. “Our starters were awful”, Malone said. “I thought we had guys who were hesitant, who looked a little scared, who played soft… we’re going to have to be a lot better to get home. He later added, “I can’t believe we’re actually talking about playing hard in a playoff game. It should be acquired.
- With the Trail Blazers’ season in play, Jusuf Nurkic and Norman PowelI the two entered Saturday’s game with something to prove, according to Athletic’s Jason Quick. Nurkic was upset by the derogatory comments about his defense, while Powell wanted to show he could be the difference Portland expected when he acquired him at the trade deadline.