Conley, Mitchell in lineup with Jazz facing elimination

Sports
Donovan Mitchell

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) walls off the court following the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell were in Utah’s starting lineup for Game 6 on Friday night, with the Jazz facing elimination in the second-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Conley missed the first five games of the series after he reaggravated a left hamstring strain during Utah’s Game 5 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on June 2.

Mitchell’s status was questionable up until 30 minutes before tipoff due to a sprained right ankle.

Conley, who is in his 14th season, originally suffered the injury in February, which resulted in him missing 21 games during the regular season. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 17.4 points and 8.6 assists in the Memphis series.

Mitchell is averaging 31.6 points in nine postseason games. The 6-foot-3 guard missed the first game of the Memphis series due to the ankle injury.

Mitchell had scored 30-plus points in six straight postseason games but was held to 21 in Wednesday’s 119-111 loss.

“I think the biggest thing is they won’t be out there if there’s any risk of something more substantial occurring when they are playing,” coach Quin Synder said in his pregame remarks. “So whether it be minutes restrictions or maybe a little less effective from an athletic standpoint, both those guys are the two guys that particularly in this series allow us to break the defense down and it’s kind of what I was saying before; that they create offense for other people.”

The Jazz — who edged Phoenix by game for the NBA’s best record in the regular season at 52-20 — won the first two games against the Clippers, but have dropped three straight for the first time this season.

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