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Key Matchup: Mike Conley vs. Chris Paul
When the Utah Jazz traded for Mike Conley last summer, they were thrilled to add a player with his skill set: an excellent ballhandler to run head coach Quin Snyder’s offense and another 3-point threat to space the floor.
Just as importantly, though, were Conley’s intangibles. The NBA veteran has been through it all in his 12-plus years in the league. And as the Jazz continue their push toward the postseason tonight in Oklahoma City, Conley’s leadership on and off the court continues to be key in his team’s success.
“I’m telling guys to continue to put the foot on the pedal right now,” Conley said. “Every practice, every film session, every day we have to recover and get our bodies right is important. It’s not time to hang out and do all those other things. It’s time to get locked in and make a strong push.”
Conley is doing that on the court. The point guard is averaging 14.9 points and 5 assists per game since the All-Star break. Tonight against the Thunder, Conley will find himself matched up with another savvy vet: OKC point guard Chris Paul. In his first season with the Thunder, Paul is averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 assists per game, earning his first All-Star selection since 2016.
But the Jazz like their chances with Conley at the helm.
“He’s an unselfish teammate. He goes out there and works hard,” Conley’s backcourt mate Donovan Mitchell said. “He leads by voice as well as example. It’s going to help us a lot come playoff time.”