Former Ohio State point guard Mike Conley helped the NBA relaunch its 2019-20 season Thursday night in Orlando, as his Utah Jazz club came from behind to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans inside the bubble at Disney World.
Utah, playing the first of eight “seeding” games before the playoffs, emerged by a final of 106-104 in a thrilling opener. Conley scored 20 points and added four assists, shooting 7 of 16 from the field in the process.
The Jazz trailed by 12 at halftime but stayed the course and closed the deficit to one possession, 91-89, early in the fourth quarter. Utah didn’t lead until the 4:09 mark down the stretch and ultimately hung on after a pair of Rudy Gobert free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining. Brandon Ingram rimmed out a potential game-winning three pointer at the buzzer.
Conley, a native of Indianapolis, played just one season for the Buckeyes before getting selected No. 4 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2007 NBA Draft. He played a dozen seasons with the franchise and is now finishing his first for Utah, where the 6-foot-1 floor general is averaging 13.8 points and 4.3 assists per game for the Jazz this season.
While at Ohio State, Conley earned third team All-American honors while leading OSU to the Final Four. He, high school teammate Greg Oden and others spearheaded the Buckeyes to 35-4 record and appearance in the national championship game. Conley recently built a house in Columbus.