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"This Was A Really Good Game For Us" | Utah Shows Resiliency In Win

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

Welcome to the conversation, Mike Conley.

After battling injuries late in the season the past two years, Conley hasn't been able to find his rhythm as he's been on a minutes restriction this year.

Despite being an all-star last season, Conley has been considered somewhat of an after-thought for much of the season in the eye of the national media. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert get all the headlines, and rightfully so, but there's still another star player on the Jazz capable of taking over a game.

That's what Conley did on Wednesday night.

Despite leading by 14 midway through the fourth quarter and dealing with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Houston to force overtime, Conley scored nine points in extra time as Utah picked up the 132-127 victory over the Rockets.

"This was a really good game for us," head coach Quin Snyder said postgame. "It was a game we can absorb and learn from. … There's not a lot of magic to what happened, but there's things we know are going to happen to us, and we need to be able to handle them."

With Mitchell and Gobert dominating for much of the game, Utah led by 14 with just over six minutes to play. But that lead evaporated as the Rockets took advantage of Utah's carelessness with the ball, going on a 22-8 run to tie the game at 114 with 30 seconds left.

That's when Conley took over.

He appeared to hit the game-winner when he knocked down a corner three-pointer with eight seconds left — a shot made possible after a phenomenal pass by Mitchell out of a triple-team. But Christian Wood knocked down a buzzer-beater for the Rockets, sending the game into overtime.

The extra time was back and forth until Conley came up clutch again. He scored Utah's final nine points, including a personal 7-0 run, with two minutes left in overtime to give the Jazz their third consecutive win.

Conley finished the night with 15 points, eight assists, four rebounds, and four steals, a masterful performance from someone who dominated a game despite taking 10 shots.

"Shots weren't falling for me personally. … But I had a couple really good looks late in moments I'm accustomed to performing in," Conley said postgame.

"I wasn't thinking he was having a bad night. … I'm thinking, 'When I watch him shoot, I'm expecting the ball to go in,'" Snyder said of Conley.

Apart from Conley's late-game heroics, Mitchell and Gobert were sensational for much of the night.

Gobert seems fully recovered from his calf strain suffered in the early part of this month when he finished with his third consecutive double-double since returning from the all-star break. Going against the undersized Rockets, Gobert was unstoppable in the paint as he finished with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks on 12-of-14 shooting from the floor.

While Gobert handled business down low, Mitchell was the destroyer on the perimeter.

As he's done since his return from a severe concussion, Mitchell was lights out on the offensive end. He finished with 37 points, 10 assists, and three steals, shooting 13-of-27 from the floor. He exploded for 13 points in the opening quarter, and then scored six in a row in overtime to keep the Jazz close.

"It feels good to come out of here with a win, but we've gotta find a way not to give up an 18-point lead," Mitchell said.

Despite playing on the backend of a back-to-back, the Rockets came out on fire, jumping out to a 9-4 lead on three three-pointers. But the Jazz, behind the play of Mitchell, reeled off a 10-0 run to take a 25-20 lead after one.

Houston rallied back to take a one-point lead midway through the second before Utah rallied once again. Beginning with a Bojan Bogdanovic three-pointer and ending with a jumper of his, the Jazz went on a 21-3 run before leading 66-53 at the break.

The third quarter was a back and forth affair as Utah was able to push its lead to 17 on multiple occasions while the Rockets were able to cut it to single digits on more than one occasion. But the Jazz still went into the fourth quarter leading by 10 and setting the stage for the thrilling finish.

"I think the way we played at the end, I don't think we deserved to win. ... It was good we got a chance to redeem ourselves in overtime," Gobert said.

Bogdanovic finished with 18 points and five rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson added 14 off the bench. Royce O'Neale was solid again, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds, four assists, and great defense on Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr.

Utah continues its roast trip when it faces the new-look New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. MST.