Post Up: Masked Avenger

Mike Conley returned to lead the Grizzlies to a Game 2 win at Oracle.
by May 06, 2015

Hawks 106, Wizards 90 (Series tied 1-1)

John Wall has found another level in the post-season: the 24-year-old speed demon is averaging 17.4 points, 12.6 assists and 1.4 blocks through five games. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Wall’s playoff numbers aren’t the only swollen aspect of his game at the moment. Wall landed awkwardly on a fast-break layup in Sunday’s Game 1 victory, and his hand ballooned later that night. The Washington Post reported Wall’s sprained left wrist was so inflated that he struggled to open a bottle of Gatorade and needed help in putting on his earrings. As a result, the 24-year-old All-Star PG was forced to sit out Game 2 against Atlanta.

Like in Game 1, the Hawks took an early double-digit lead but allowed Washington to slowly creep back. This time, however, Atlanta would finish the job; jumpers that inexplicably rimmed out in Game 1 found the bottom of the net in Game 2. DeMarre Carroll — who has now scored 20+ points in six straight games — dropped 22 points and snatched 6 rebounds. Paul Millsap put up 18 points, grabbed 11 boards and committed 4 robberies. Al Horford contributed with 18 points, 6 dimes, 3 steals and 2 blocks.

ATL led 53-46 at halftime, and the Wizards fought back to tie the game at 71 on an Otto Porter 3-ball with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Hawks took care of business in the fourth quarter, closing things out on an 11-2 run. Kyle Korver nailed the last of his four 3-pointers with 2:53 remaining in regulation to go up 98-88 and fend off a late Wiz run.

Ramon Sessions stepped up big in Wall’s absence, attacking from the get-go and finishing with 21 points on 8-14 shooting. Bradley Beal added 20 points and 7 assists in 43 minutes of play. Paul Pierce has been steady in the playoffs, and last night he went for 15 points on 5-10 from the field. And Otto Porter (15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) yet again had himself a heckuva game off the bench. But Washington simply couldn’t contain the ATLiens’ high-octane offense like it did in Game 1. And Nene had another horrid outing; the big Brazilian scored only 2 points and grabbed just 4 rebounds in 27 minutes. He’s playing as if the little aliens from Space Jam came down from Moron Mountain and stole his talent.

Wiz fans are praying Wall regains the flicka da wrist as soon as possible. The long break between Games 2 and 3 should help. The series now shifts to DC; Game 3 will be played Saturday.

Eli Schwadron

Grizzlies 97, Warriors 90 (Series tied 1-1)

All the heroes wear a mask on duty, and Mike Conley is no different.

After missing three games due to a facial injury (and subsequent surgery), Conley went for 22 points and 3 assists in Game 2 last night against the Golden State Warriors. It was only the third loss the Oracle witnessed this year.

Conley started off strong with 9 first quarter points, and he finished strong too, scoring 6 points at the end of the game to keep Memphis on top. The Grizz led almost the entire time, going up by as many as 16. They established their lead early on, taking a 6-point advantage at the end of the opening period. They then ended the second quarter on a 9-0 run for an 11-point halftime lead over the home team.

Zach Randolph added 20 points to Conley’s 22, and Marc Gasol and Courtney Lee contributed 15 apiece. Tony Allen—who made First Team All-Defense, don’t you dare forget—had 9 points and 4 steals on the night, including this:

The Dubs were a different story. Things looked nice as Stephen Curry accepted his MVP award in front of his fans…

But despite Curry’s 19 points and 6 assists to lead the team, the Warriors couldn’t keep Conley and the Grizzlies under control. Golden State struggled with turnovers, letting 20 good ones go. They came within 7 points in the fourth but weren’t able to get any closer. Draymond Green and Leandro Barbosa added 14 each to the MVP’s 19, but Masked Mike Conley and the Grizz were on a mission to tie this series up.

And that’s exactly what they did.

Habeeba Husain