Mike Conley Took Over at Crunch Time vs OKC Thunder

by May 08, 2013

With Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol on the floor and Memphis facing the possibility of falling down a 2-0 hole to the OKC Thunder, the smallest Grizzly took the biggest shots of the night and helped even up the series. Mike Conley was instrumental down the stretch in Game 2, and says his team needed him to take over. Per the Commercial Appeal: “Conley didn’t need a pep talk Tuesday night to recover from a sub-par Game 1 performance. When the fourth quarter came around in Game 2, the Grizzlies’ normally conservative point guard didn’t hesitate and showed the Oklahoma City Thunder exactly what ‘don’t wait to be great’ means. Conley’s greatness amounted to 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists while steering the Grizzlies to a 99-93 victory that knotted the Western Conference semifinals at 1-1 in Chesapeake Energy Arena. Conley had 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the final frame. His 3-pointer with 1:58 left put the Griz ahead 92-90 and the Griz never looked back. They will now host two home games with Game 3 set for Saturday in FedExForum. ‘I figured if we were going to win, I’d have to step up, take control and demand the ball,’ said Conley, who nearly produced a triple-double after shooting 5 of 15 with just three assists and two turnovers in Game 1. ‘He played like he had been playing all season, and we needed that,’ Griz coach Lionel Hollins said. ‘We needed to have somebody on the perimeter do something. He started getting to the basket a little bit and scored some big jump shots late.’ Memphis trailed 90-89 with 2:41 left to play. The Griz finished off a 30-point fourth-quarter with Conley scoring six points during a game-ending 10-3 run. ‘He really wanted the ball,’ Griz forward Zach Randolph said. ‘He was feeling it and he made some big shots for us.’ […] ‘He’s a steady point guard that deserves more credit than he gets,’ Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ‘I understand the value he has to that team.’ […] ‘Mike Conley is now one of the top five point guards in the league,’ Tony Allen said, ‘whether anybody likes it or not.'”