Utah Jazz star guard Mike Conley is still having a hard time adjusting to playing against his former team Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs first round. On Saturday night, Conley posted 26 points, six rebounds and eight assists as the Jazz beat the Grizzlies on the road 121-111 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Conley played 12 seasons with the Grizzlies but now he is replaced by Ja Morant, who scored 28 points in Game 3. "It's amazing to be playing against a guy like Ja, first off," Conley said, per ESPN. "Just seeing a guy that's so talented, he's a young superstar in the league, wearing the jersey that I'm so used to wearing.
Getting the cheers from the crowd that I'm so used to hearing. It's surreal. It's like full circle. You never thought that it would be this way. I never did, at least. "It's like sometimes you live long enough to become the villain, and I've become that for the Memphis Grizzlies now.
Just got to take that in stride, continue to do what I do and have fun with that, have fun with the game."
Donovan Mitchell praised Conley
"Mike was terrific, man," Jazz guard Mitchell said. "On both ends of the floor.
He was Mike Conley. And he always has been for us all year, and he's taken it to an even nother level. And I feel like when you have a guy like that who can handle the ball, who can control the game, as well, it makes my life and my job easier.
"So when I get certain shots, it's because he sees things, he's communicating that with me or he's putting me in positions to go ahead and score and make plays too. A lot of that too is Mike Conley being here.
He's big time." Mitchell scored a game-high 29 points and also had five rebounds. "I think the biggest thing is he's just locked in," Mitchell said. "He just has a different look. And that's one of the things that I saw from him in the bubble, and I've seen it at an even higher level now.
He understands it. He loves -- he played for Memphis, what, 13 years. At the end of the day, there's still love. You can see it. And there's also love in competing against them. And I think it is impressive, because it's easy to be distracted ...
"I remember his first game back here: Mentally he was all over the place. And rightfully so. It's an emotional moment for him. But to be back here competing against Ja, who's like -- you got the OG and then you got the young guy.
I think that's pretty dope. It's a dope story, but for him, he's competing. He's doing his thing on both ends of the floor. And both of these guys are taking the challenge head-on. That's why I love Mike; that's why we love Mike."