With an awkward hamstring still sidelining the All-Star playmaker, the Jazz forward will once again play an outsized role – and know he’ll have to shoot – and do – more.
First of all: It’s perhaps predictable but no less disappointing news for Utah Jazz fans that All-Star playmaker Mike Conley was kicked out of Game 2 on Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. , as he continues to come back from strain in his right hamstrings.
Conley again suffered a hamstring injury in the Jazz’s first round final against Memphis and missed Utah’s victory in Game 1 in the second round.
Joe Ingles, the likely starter in Conley’s absence, spoke to the media after Thursday morning’s shooting, and over a span of about 15 minutes, covered a wide range of topics in his typically hilarious Jinglesian way :
• After being asked how he was defended in these playoffs, he naturally followed up his shooting problems and the criticism that he needs to shoot more: “I’m sure you’re going to imply that I don’t shoot well. , then, I’m going to keep shooting, even though I didn’t shoot well and I didn’t shoot well. So I will answer this question before anyone asks me.
• When the subject of his clash with then-Thunder wing and now Clippers wing Paul “Playoff P” George from three years ago was brought up, Ingles addressed the perceived rivalry: “Everyone “Joe vs. Paul George” tale is kind of a bit old, in my mind. It’s Jazz against the Clippers. It was OKC against Jazz. … Personally, I don’t read 1 on 1 stuff. I mean, three years ago is a long time – my twins barely spoke at the time, and now they’re 5 and annoying me.
UTAH JAZZ AGAINST. THE CUP
At Vivint Smart Home Arena
When • Thursday, 8 p.m.
TV • ESPN
• On how the Jazz reversed the offense in Game 1, beyond just doing more shots: “I mean it’s hard to get away from the ‘shoot’ part – obviously, that’s a big part of it. I mean, we missed 20 or 21 straight goals. And a lot of them were also good shots – I don’t think there were a lot of bad shots. And that’s how we’ve played all year – when we have open shots, we take them. … So yes, we do not plan to miss 21 [in a row] tonight. It was the main thing we were talking about in the movie [session] this morning.”
• On Rudy Gobert winning his third Defensive Player of the Year title: “I mean, it’s no surprise, honestly. Being around him daily for seven years now, we in the organization – and obviously a lot of people outside with votes and everything – are doing what he does for us on a daily basis. It’s not like a coincidence [event] where he had a 50-point game once or something; he does it every night no matter who we play. … He makes us all better defenders, he allows us to be more aggressive because we know he supports us. And it’s good to have a fat 7 foot Frenchman behind you. … Yeah, proud of himself. He grew up. He’s come a long way.
• When told that coach Quin Snyder called him a “utility player” and asked if it was a goal for him to fill this role early in his career, he spoke of his early days. rather modest: “My first goal was just not to get cut. I was on an unsecured [contract] my freshman year, and just wanted to do whatever I could to be part of the team. … I still remember one of the first conversations I had with the coach, he would tell me to run around the corner and shoot 3s if I was open, and defend, and if I did these two things, I was going to be able to have a chance to stay on the pitch.
• And when the 15 minutes had passed and the Jazz PR staff member moderating the Zoom session announced “That’s all the time we have,” despite a few hands still up, he once again played into his schtick of hating media sessions (even though he clearly does them well enough), saying with false sadness, “Awwwwww, sorry guys. Maybe next time!”