The greatest warrior on the court Tuesday night in Oakland didn’t play for Golden State.
Just 10 days after suffering multiple facial fractures and eight days after undergoing surgery to repair them, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley donned a protective mask, returned to game action and promptly took over.
Conley finished with 22 points (8-of-12 shooting) in 27 minutes as the Grizzlies downed the Warriors 97-90 to even their second-round playoff series at one game apiece.
“He has a big heart, man,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen told USA Today. “He’s a competitor, no doubt. In my opinion, he is the most underrated guard in this whole league.”
(Allen did a great deal of talking during the game, too, repeatedly reminding the Warriors of his “first-team All-Defense” status.)
Conley’s return after a three-game absence was not entirely painless, however. After regathering a blocked shot and calling a timeout during the second quarter, he absorbed a rough smack to his injured face from Warriors forward Draymond Green.
Conley was very slow to get up but ultimately remained in the game. Green was not called for a foul on the play, as the referees deemed the contact incidental even after video review.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images
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