Mike Conley has until now not taken part in the NBA Western Conference semifinals for the Utah Jazz. Up until now, the 2021 NBA All-Star has been listed as “questionable” for each of the four games in the series by the Utah Jazz, only to be ruled out hours before tip-off. Conley was expected to play the role right from the beginning but has failed to recover from the niggling right hamstring strain he suffered from during round 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Utah Jazz started off brightly riding on Donovan Mitchell’s extraordinary performances and won the first two games. However, an improved defensive effort from the LA Clippers and the form of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have meant that the LA Clippers tied the series 2-2 in game 1. This is the second time the Clippers have come from 2-0 down in the 2021 NBA playoffs, and fought back against the Dallas Mavericks in round 1 from a similar position. In this article, we look at whether Mike Conley will finally be playing a role in game 5.
NBA 2021 Playoffs round 2: Is Mike Conley playing tonight against the LA Clippers in game 5?
Mike Conley was again listed as “questionable” for the Utah Jazz in game 5, and is confirmed to be out. He was expected to feature in game 4 but was ruled out. Conley had said the following before the series and was confident that he would be playing a part.
"My mindset is, I'm going to be ready to play. That's kind of the visual I put in front of myself, “I'm going to be ready.” But at the same time, we're going to see what happens in the next few days and be smart about how we approach it going into this next series."
However, it appears for now that he is not quite ready to play, with the hamstring strain taking longer than expected to recover from. Head coach Quinn Snyder had said the following after game 2, claiming that Conley will play when he is ready, and the Jazz’s good start to the series had nothing to do with his absence.
“It has nothing to do with us feeling any form of accomplishment having won a couple games. Mike’s not ready to go yet and he’s working hard every day to try to get back. We know how difficult the series is going to be and when Mike’s ready, he’ll be back.”
Additionally, Donovan Mitchell also said after game 3 that the Utah Jazz are “anxious” to get Mike Conley back, and for good reason. Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson’s impressive scoring negated Conley’s absence. The LA Clippers have responded in the last two games with better defensive intensity, while both George and Kawhi Leonard look set to lead their team to the Western Conference finals.
In such a scenario, Mike Conley’s absence is bound to hurt the Utah Jazz. Like the first four matches, he was initially listed as questionable and is now confirmed to be out for game 4.