Author: Brett Pollakoff

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

WATCH: Adam Silver presents Warriors’ Stephen Curry with MVP trophy before Game 2 vs. Grizzlies


Tuesday was ultimately a rough night for the Golden State faithful, as they saw Memphis come into their building and beat the Warriors to even their second-round playoff series at a game apiece.

But at least it started off with something special.

Stephen Curry was presented with the MVP trophy in front of the fans, who had the pleasure of witnessing Curry’s greatness all season long. And they got to give Curry the hero’s reception that the best player on a 67-win team rightly deserved.

Hawks unimpressive, but pull away late for Game 2 win over Wizards


The Hawks were in desperation mode entering Game 2 against the Wizards, and with John Wall being a late scratch for Washington due to a wrist injury he suffered in Game 1, that combination should have been deadly enough for Atlanta to deliver an early knockout punch.

The Wizards remained difficult, however, even with their best player sidelined. The Hawks eventually pulled away for the 106-90 victory to even the series at a game apiece, but were unimpressive in the process, which will no doubt give their opponents all kinds of confidence as the series shifts to Washington for its next two games.

Ramon Sessions got the start in Wall’s absence, and finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, to go along with four assists. He didn’t impact the game the way Wall would have, but he was a more-than-serviceable replacement, and 10 of his points came in the third quarter, where the Wizards quickly cut the Hawks’ halftime lead of seven to a single point less than two minutes in. This was a theme throughout — Atlanta would build a lead of eight or 10 points, but could never fully close the door until very late in the contest.

Washington had a top-five defense during the regular season, and was second in defensive efficiency among the teams remaining after the first round of the playoffs. That effort was evident in Game 2, and the defense (along with shooting 12-of-22 from three-point distance) is what kept the Wizards continuously competitive in this one.

Atlanta did get plenty of open looks, however, and several shots simply did not fall. Kyle Korver finished 4-of-11 from three-point distance, Jeff Teague finished just 3-of-12 from the field for nine points, and Atlanta as a team made just 10 of its 29 attempts from beyond the arc.

The Wizards lost this game at the free throw line, where the Hawks finished the night with a 14-point advantage. Credit Atlanta’s signature ball movement for putting Washington in difficult situations time and again, but one of the league’s better remaining defensive units needs to play smarter at the same time.

It’s tough to take much from this individual contest, primarily thanks to Wall’s absence. But the Wizards were consistent in their ability to compete with the top-seeded Hawks for extended stretches on the road, and it’s worth wondering if things might have turned out differently had Wall not been sidelined due to injury, which was at least partly to blame for Washington’s sloppy first-quarter start.

Wall’s status moving forward will be the biggest deciding factor in the series. The Wizards catch a break in the schedule, and Wall will get five full days off before Game 3 in Washington on Saturday. They’ve now shown they can compete with or without him, and it feels like Atlanta will be in trouble if Washington can get back to full strength.

Grizzlies’ Mike Conley ‘believes he will’ return for Game 2 vs. Warriors

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game One

Mike Conley has missed his team’s last three playoff games, after undergoing facial surgery due to an injury he suffered in the first round against the Blazers.

Portland was ill-equipped to handle Memphis even with Conley sidelined, but the Grizzlies now face a similarly tall task against the Warriors, even if Conley returns to the lineup at full strength.

After sitting out his team’s 15-point Game 1 loss, Conley appears ready to give it a go in Game 2 on Tuesday.

From Michael Wallace of

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley hopes to return for Game 2 of the Grizzlies’ playoff series against the Golden State Warriors after participating Monday in his most extensive workout with the team amid his recovery from facial surgery.

“I believe I will,” Conley said when asked if he will play Tuesday. “But I believed that for the last week. So I’m really hopeful. They tell me I can play once I’m ready, and I feel like I’m ready to go. It’s just on me.” …

Memphis coach Dave Joerger said he still considers Conley doubtful for Tuesday’s game against the Warriors but indicated a final decision won’t be made until just prior to the start of the game.

If the decision is truly Conley’s to make, he might have already made it.

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He posted a picture of himself wearing a protective mask to his Instagram page, with a caption that reads “Gameday focus.”

Conley averaged 16 points on 50 percent shooting in 26.3 minutes per contest in three first-round games against the Blazers — all of which resulted in Memphis victories.