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In the fourth quarter of the Utah Jazz’s overtime win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, Mike Conley stepped up to the foul line to shoot a technical free throw. If you blinked, you might have missed what happened next.
Rudy Gay kind of shoved Conley off the line and stepped in to take the shot himself.
Gay, who had missed six straight games due to injury and illness, had returned in the previous game against Phoenix, but he made justn 1 of his 5 shot attempts. He was still cold from the floor in Houston and wanted a change to see one go through the hoop.
“He walked up and said, ‘I need one,’” Conley said. “A guy needs an opportunity to see the ball go in when you’ve missed a few and need to get a rhythm.”
Conley happily obliged, but told Gay that if he didn’t make the technical shot, he’d hear about it later.
“I said, ‘I understand you, brother. Go ahead and do it,’” Conley said. “If he missed it, I was going to give him hell.”
Gay made the shot.
That’s not something that happens all the time on an NBA court, but it’s also something that happens more often than you’d think. A technical free throw can be taken by any of the players on the floor so if someone is feeling like they just need to get a bucket, they’ll step up for it.
In a close game, as the game was in Houston, it’s less likely to happen, which is why Conley was so adamant that Gay make the shot. It’s also less likely that someone will get pushed off the free throw line seconds before they are going to shoot.
But, when you have a relationship that spans more than 15 years, as Conley and Gay do, it’s easier to understand and to make concessions for one another.
New with the Jazz
Stat of the week
Among playoff-contending teams, in games that teams have their two best players available, the Utah Jazz have the second-best net rating in the league behind only the Golden State Warriors.
From the archives
This week in Jazz history
On March 4, 1996, John Stockton handed out 11 assists during a 110-87 Jazz victory over Phoenix, becoming the first NBA player to collect 11,000 career assists.
- Jazz know now is not the time to get fat and happy (Deseret News)
- Former Jazz player Kyrylo Fesenko on Russia’s Vladimir Putin after invasion: “I hate him from the depth of my heart” (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Jazz preach sacrifice and checking egos after win over Suns (Salt Lake Tribune)
Around the league
Investigation into accusations against Suns owner Robert Sarver continues.
DeAndre Jordan signs with Philadelphia 76ers.
No timetable for Ben Simmons to make debut with Brooklyn Nets.
March 6 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder | AT&T SportsNet
March 7 | 7:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | NBA TV
March 9 | 8 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers | ESPN
March 11 | 7:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs | AT&T SportsNet