The NBA finally announced that Steph Curry is the 2015 Most Valuable Player, and rightfully so. He held his press conference yesterday, and in Game 2 of the Western Conference semi-finals, commissioner Adam Silver introduced Curry as the MVP to the Golden State faithful. The Warriors won game 1 and had momentum on there side with Curry hoisting the MVP trophy before tip-off, but the Grizzlies had different plans for tonight.
Grizzlies crashed Curry's MVP party, also stealing home court, defeating the Warriors 97-90. This is the first loss for the Warriors in Oracle Arena since January 27th when they loss to the Bulls, ending a 21-game home win streak. The difference maker in tonight's game was one person; Mike Conley.
I remember when I didn't consider Conley as one of the best points guards in the league but that seem so long ago. Conley played in his first game since a fracture in his face he suffered 10 days ago against the Blazers. Conley rocking the mask, scored 22 points in only 26 minutes. He started the game hot scoring 9 points in 6 minutes. You can tell that Conley was tired at times but despite injuries (still nursing a foot injury) he helped his Grizzly Gang get the dub and set the tempo for this game.
Before the game Kenny Smith spoke on how Conley has the ability to slow down the game, preventing Steph Curry and the Warriors from playing an up-and-down game. Even though the tempo wasn't fast pace, the Grizzlies still scored 21 fast break while holding the Warriors to 19. Conley's aggressiveness really helped this team and kept the Warriors playing catch up for most of the game.
Defense was also a big factor in this victory for the Grizz. Tony Allen did a wonderful job on the perimeter, making life hell for both Curry and Klay Thompson. Allen finished the game with 4 steals and contested majority of Curry or Thomson shots. The Grizzlies finished with 13 steals and forced 20 total turnovers.
Curry and Thompson had their worse game of the postseason, combining for 3-17 from behind the arc. I'm not sure how many times you'll see these two off at that the same time like this, along with the rest of the team who shot 26% from 3-point land. The Warriors live by the jumper but like the saying goes, you also will die by the jumper. This was the first time in the postseason that their jumpers wasn't dropping so I don't think this will happen for the rest of the series.
Along with missing shots, the Warriors also was manhandled in the paint. The Grizzlies front-court of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 35 points while Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, David Lee, Marreese Speights, and Festus Ezeli only combined for 26 points. The Warriors out-rebounded the Grizzlies 45-38 but they didn't control the paint, another reason why the Grizz was able to control the tempo of this game.
Game 3 will be Saturday in Memphis at “The Grindhouse” with the series tied at 1. I don't see the Warriors shooting this poorly again, nor committing 20 turnovers. I expect a much better game from not only Curry and Thompson, but also the Warriors bench. Having Conley on the court should give Memphis fans confidence though because like Kenny said, he is one of the few that can change the tempo of a game.