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Mike Conley: How Injury Changes Clippers-Jazz Game 1 Dynamic… And The Entire Series

MIke Conley, Clippers-Jazz Game 1

Ahead of Clippers-Jazz Game 1, it was reported that veteran point guard Mike Conley would not be able to play in the first game of this pivotal NBA Playoffs series.

There’s a lot to unpack here; though we would like to avoid hyperbolic statements.

Speaking from a factual perspective, the Utah Jazz played 21 total games without Mike Conely this season. In that stretch, the franchise went a more than respectable 15-6, actually averaging 120 points per game as a team. For those unaware how math works, that 15-6 record is good for a .714 winning percentage. Thanks, StatMuse!

On the surface, all looks well, right? Not so fast my friend!

It’s now Clippers-Jazz Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs. This isn’t some ho-hum regular season game where Utah likely ate on a few bottom-feeders to make that record look all sorts of fine.

Jokes aside, this is obviously a big blow for Utah. Even worse, and while it felt like a known that he’d be out for Game 1, there’s a sense of unease about Mike Conley in the series from a bigger picture standpoint. In turn, making this first game important for whoever the Jazz deem suitable (enough) to try to eat some of his minutes — though there’s a good chance the bench just gets shortened instead.

If the latter ends up happening, and Conley is out for more than just Game 1, we can have conversations about what this means in terms relative to depth and exhaustion as the series grows longer in the tooth.

Nonetheless, the baseline stats suggest the Utah Jazz will enter Game 1 as a more than competent opponent for the Clippers.

From a larger perspective, though, all depending on what happens with Mike Conley after further evaluations, Clippers-Jazz Game 1 can be an all-or-nothing game if the veteran guard misses extended time. No pressure or anything.