The Return of Mountain Mike

The 10 game win streak for the Jazz finally came to an end last Thursday. In a wild finish the Jazz lost, and then went to overtime, then lost again to the New Orleans Pelicans. It is hard to win that many games in a row in the NBA no matter who the opponent is. The Pelicans could make a run at the playoffs with Zion Williamson healthy.

Speaking of returns, the Jazz got a very big return last Saturday night. Mike Conley, one of the biggest acquisitions in the offseason, returned after missing 20 straight games due to hamstring tightness. He did not have a record breaking night but he did get eased back into the rotation. In the 15 minutes he was on the court the Jazz outscored the Kings by 10 points so Jazz fans can now draw some positivity that Mike was an asset on the court.

Before the injury he seemed like a liability on the court with his shooting slump. Everyone goes through that. Also he seemed to get banged up a lot early on as he had a few bumps and bruises that became more serious as soon as he got some hamstring tightness.

That may not sound serious to some but if there is an issue with the hamstring it can get strained in a high contact sport with a lot of running involved. Strains can turn into something worse as we saw from the calf strain that turned into an Achilles tear for Kevin Durant in the NBA Finals last season.

After being gone for a “decade”, Conley returned on January 18th, 2020 much to the delight of the crowd. He did only have 3 points on 1 for three shooting but if the Jazz can gradually ease him into the rotation then hopefully he can be the guy in time for the playoffs.

Conley’s next two games back was much more successful in the stat column than his first. He did have 14 points against the Pacers on Martin Luther King Day and 8 points against Golden State on Wednesday. Conley’s sweet spot right now is about 20 minutes off the bench but the Jazz still need to work him back to Memphis Mike status if they want a legit shot at a title.

The Jazz are back to their winning ways with Conley. They are on a three game win streak but have a tough rest of January as they face four Western Conference teams that are in the playoff hunt. If they can do the Texas two step over the Mavericks, Spurs or Rockets and finish the month at Mile High City with at least a split over these tough opponents, the Jazz will be looking good heading into the All-Star Break.

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