On the day of the coronation for the NBA’s Most Valuable player, one man stood out and stole the show. It was supposed to be Stephen Curry’s night, however Michael Conley was in a different zone.
One game, one night when everybody was paying attention, Conley delivers.
The man with the facial mask, finally arrived on the biggest stage of his career, against the NBA’s MVP and the NBA’s number one team.
All his career he was an underrated point guard, having to earn his minutes on his rookie year with Kyle Lowry and Damon Stoudemire. The Memphis Grizzlies signed and drafted point guards after point guards with Allen Iverson, drafted Greivis Vasquez (2010) and Toney Wrotten (2012). Michael doubted his capabilities and doubted if the Grizzlies ever wanted him. Mike’s biggest trait is his composure and feel for the game, in a roster full of emotional players like Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, Conley is the steady influence for them. That’s why when Memphis gave a five-year, $45 million contract extension, it was clear that they had seen his potential and wanted him to be part of the organization as their starting point guard.
All the doubts and insecurities are gone and Michael is playing like an All-star for the Grizzlies. But a lot still questioned if he really deserves the contract. Is he really worth it, when they chose him instead of Lowry (they traded Lowry to the Houston Rockets). Conley is good, but he was never been a “Chris Paul” good. Memphis has been a consistent playoff contender, and also a consistent failure. Will Conley finally step up?
The answer came out with a resounding yes, when Michael scored 22 points and levelled the competition with a 97-90 game 2 victory against the Warriors. This has been a special one for Mike, after spraining his right foot which caused him the final four regular games in the season. Conley missed the previous three playoff games when he suffered a facial fracture in game 3 on their first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. After Golden State cruised their way to an easy win on their first game, second round series. Everybody wanted Mike to play. “Monday was tough because I’m getting all these people telling me they want me to play, they want me to play,” Conley said. “My parents are like, ‘No, you need to sit, make sure you’re healthy.’ “(From yahoo sports)
Wearing a protective mask, Mike played game two, and as soon as he was in the court it was all business. His shots went in, four of it from the first quarter including a 3 point shot.
It’s still a long way to go and a big mountain to climb, the series has not yet ended. But a confident Memphis team is gearing up now with Mike back in the team.
Beyond the night’s MVP recognition, Stephen Curry thank everyone and waived his hands in appreciation. When Michael Conley puts on his facial mask and played his heart out on a sprained knee and a facial tear, we know that night clearly belongs to him.
Finally, Michael Conley has arrived.
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