¡¡¡¡First things first: It¡¯s perhaps-predictable but no-less-disappointing news for Utah Jazz fans that All-Star point guard Mike Conley has been ruled out of Thursday¡¯s Game 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, as he continues to work his way back from a right hamstring strain.
¡¡¡¡Conley re-injured his hamstring in the Jazz¡¯s first-round finale vs. Memphis, and sat out Utah¡¯s Game 1 victory in the second round.
¡¡¡¡Joe Ingles, the likely starter in Conley¡¯s absence, addressed the media following Thursday morning¡¯s shootaround, and over a span of about 15 minutes, covered a wide range of topics in his typically hilarious Jinglesian fashion:
¡¡¡¡? After being asked about how he was being defended in these playoffs, he naturally segued into his shooting woes, and the criticism that he needs to shot more: ¡°I¡¯m sure you¡¯re going to hint at me not shooting well, so, I¡¯m going to keep shooting, even though I didn¡¯t shoot that well and I haven¡¯t been shooting well. So I¡¯ll answer that question before someone asks me.¡±
¡¡¡¡? When the subject of his matchup with then-Thunder wing and now-Clippers wing Paul ¡°Playoff P¡± George from three years ago was brought up, Ingles addressed the perceived rivalry: ¡°The whole narrative of ¡®Joe versus Paul George¡¯ is kind of a little bit old, in my mind. It¡¯s the Jazz versus the Clippers. It was OKC versus the Jazz. ¡ I personally don¡¯t read into the 1-on-1 stuff. I mean, three years ago is a long time ¡ª my twins were barely talking then, and now they¡¯re 5 and annoy the hell out of me.¡±
¡¡¡¡UTAH JAZZ VS. LA CLIPPERS
¡¡¡¡At Vivint Smart Home Arena
¡¡¡¡When ? Thursday, 8 p.m.
¡¡¡¡TV ? ESPN
¡¡¡¡? On the question of how the Jazz turned the offense around in Game 1, beyond simply making more shots: ¡°I mean, it¡¯s hard to kind of go away from the ¡®making shots part¡¯ ¡ª obviously, that¡¯s a big part of it. I mean, we missed, like, 20 or 21 straight field goals. And a high number of those were good shots, too ¡ª I don¡¯t think there was many bad shots taken. And that¡¯s how we¡¯ve played all year ¡ª when we have open shots, we take them. ¡ So yeah, we¡¯re not planning to miss 21 [in a row] tonight. That was the main thing we talked about in film [session] this morning.¡±
¡¡¡¡? On Rudy Gobert winning his third Defensive Player of the Year award: ¡°I mean, not a surprise, honestly. Being around him daily for seven years now, we within the organization ¡ª and obviously a lot of people outside with the votes and stuff ¡ª realize what he does on the daily for us. This isn¡¯t like a random [event] where he had a 50-point game one time or something like that; he does this every night, regardless of who we play. ¡ He makes us all better defenders, he lets us be more aggressive because we know he¡¯s got our back. And it¡¯s nice to have a big, 7-foot French man in the back behind you. ¡ Yeah, proud of him. He¡¯s grown up. He¡¯s come a long way.¡±
¡¡¡¡? When he was told that coach Quin Snyder had referred to him as a ¡°utility player,¡± and asked whether it was a goal of his to fill that role early in his career, he addressed his rather more humble beginnings: ¡°My first goal was just to not get cut. I was on a non-guaranteed [contract] my first year, and I just wanted to do anything I could to make the team. ¡ I still remember one of the first ever conversations I had with coach was him telling me to run to the corner and shoot 3s if I was open, and to defend, and if I did those two things, I was going to be able to have a chance to stay on the court.¡±
¡¡¡¡? And when the 15 minutes were up, and the Jazz PR staffer moderating the Zoom session announced ¡°That¡¯s all the time we have,¡± in spite of a couple hands still being raised, he once more played into his schtick of hating media sessions (even though he pretty clearly does them well), saying with mock sadness: ¡°Awwwwww, sorry guys. Maybe next time!¡±