Jazz Fans Go Wild After Conley’s First Bucket Of First Half This Season
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It took three games for new Jazz guard Mike Conley to hit his first shot of the first half in any game this season. With 8:29 left in the first quarter, he hit a 27-foot three-pointer and the crowd went wild.
A smile spread across Mike Conley’s face when he nailed his first basket of Utah’s 113-81 demolishing of Sacramento. It was his first bucket before halftime this young season. When you were in a 4-27 shooting slump coming into the game, how could you not smile?
“I kind of just looked up in the air because it felt the same as the other 21 (shots) I missed or whatever it was,” Conley said about making his second shot attempt of the game. “I was like ‘Thank God! It finally went in.'”
— Sam Farnsworth (@SFarnsworthKSL) October 27, 2019
The crowd went crazy. It wasn’t a mock cheer, but a heartfelt roar of approval, hoping that their new point guard would catch fire.
“It felt great and the fans obviously helped me through it and that’s all you can ask for,” said Conley.
Donovan Mitchell drove to the free-throw line, sucking in Conley’s defender and then passed out to his backcourt mate. Conley took one dribble to the left and then stepped back and nailed the 3 to give Utah their first lead of the game at 10-8. He nailed a lay-up a few moments later and was 2-4 from the field when he went to the bench for the first time, which was a bit later than in the first two games.
“That’s kind of what I’m used to doing. Back in Memphis, I played in longer stretches and you kind of get in the flow of the game differently,” he said.
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Not only did Conley shoot better, but his teammates were also on fire in the first quarter, making 13 of 21 baskets and 6 of those buckets were from 3-point range. The Jazz’s 35 points was the most points the squad has scored in a first quarter or any quarter this season. Utah’s 32 in the 4th quarter against Oklahoma City was the previous high.
But all hot quarters must come to an end. Or do they? Conley looked a bit cooler in the 2nd quarter, missing a couple of 3-pointers and a running bank shot. Before the half, he nailed a scoop shot and a step-back 3-pointer. He had 10 points on 4-9 shooting at the break. He made 1-2 in the 3rd quarter before taking off the majority of the second half due to the blowout.
Quin Snyder said before the game, he’s been happy with Conley’s overall play even though he’s been struggling to put the ball in the bucket.
“We need to find a way…to get him more comfortable… Some of it is your playing with new players in different situations and not to overanalyze it. He’ll make shots.”
Conley and his teammates didn’t look like they overanalyzed anything and looked way more comfortable on offense (56.4% from the field and 48.6% from behind the arc) and on defense (holding the Kings to 37% from the field).
“I thought we moved the ball a lot better,” said Conley who had 8 assists to go along with his 12 points. “The last few games we got stagnant… The guy with the ball kind of had to make plays. And tonight we just really moved it around.”
Conley said after his 1-16 shooting performance in game 1 that no one should bet on him having another poor shooting night like that one. Maybe his prediction is finally coming true.
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