(Sporting Alert) — The Memphis Grizzlies will try for a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Chicago Bulls look to eliminate the Milwaukee Bucks in Monday night’s NBA playoff conference quarterfinal fixtures.
At the Moda Center, the Grizzlies (3-0) will battle with the Trail Blazers without starting point guard Mike Conley, who has been ruled out of the contest after he underwent facial surgery.
Conley took an elbow to the head from Portland’s C.J. McCollum during the third quarter of Game 3 and was hospitalized Saturday night.
The 27-year-old, who is averaging 16 points in the current series, apparently needs around 48 hours to allow the swelling to fade, but a return date hasn’t been set.
Memphis coach Dave Joerger said losing one of the team’s key players is a big blow.
“He’s got the biggest heart,” Joerger said. “He’s the purest-hearted guy, he’s a true leader.
He continued: “He’s a winner, will do whatever’s asked of him, and what isn’t asked he looks for to help the team win. It’s a big blow.”
With Conley being out, Beno Udrih, who is expected to shake off an ankle problem after missing Saturday’s game and Nick Calathes will share the playing time for the Grizzlies at point guard.
“Conley does so much for us, with the ball, with the defense, setting us up,” noted Joerger. “He shoulders a huge amount of responsibility for us.
“So everybody else has to just pick it up, keep getting better, and be a little bit more focused in every single area. Every single possession is going to matter.”
Even without Conley, Memphis is expected to wrap things up on Monday night, but Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts wants his players to fight for their season.
“Certainly it is disappointing to be down 0-3,” Stotts said. “Obviously our backs are against the wall.
“Now our focus shifts to getting a win on Monday.”
The Chicago Bulls, in the meantime, will try to finish off their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Milwaukee Bucks when they meet in Game 5 on Monday night.
Chicago leads the series 3-1, but the Bucks won the last clash 92-90 and will want to bring that momentum into Monday night’s fixture.
“As a whole we have a long ways ago,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said.
“But I thought with this being a character game, the group in that locker room showed a lot of character by finding a way to get a win.”
The third game on Monday night is the clash between Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets.
Atlanta leads the series 2-1, but the Nets are confident they can even up the series with a victory in Game 4 at the Barclays Center.
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Atlanta Hawks vs Brooklyn Nets – 6:00 PM CT
TV: FSN-S, My9, NBA TV
Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls
TV: TNT, FSN-WI, CSN-CHI – 7:00 PM CT
Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers – 9:30 PM CT
TV: TNT, SportSouth, KGW