Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley suffered a facial injury in Game 3 of the club’s first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, which required surgery to fix multiple fractures in his face. Due to the injury, Conley missed Game 1 of the current semifinals matchup with the Golden State Warriors, a 101-86 loss, where Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes, collectively, failed to step up in Conley’s absence, registering seven points and three assists between both players. If that game was any indication of how vital Conley is to the Grizzlies chances, those questions were answered in Game 2. Conley, wearing a protective mask, scored a team-high 22 points, leading the Grizzlies to a 97-90 road win, tying the series at one apiece.
More of the same continued in Game 3, this time led by Tony Allen’s defense whose activity terrorized the Warriors’ backcourt enough to force turnovers and tough shots, uplifting the Grizzlies in the process to a 99-89 win, giving them a 2-1 series advantage. With Conley’s return inspiring the Grizz, the Warriors, led by the league MVP in Stephen Curry, face their toughest challenge yet, in a critical must-win situation for Game 4.
According to Razorgator, tickets at the Fedex Forum for this upcoming contest are averaging $173.91, with a get-in price of just $56. Without question, there is an expected big turnout, as Grizzlies fans will have the opportunity to potentially see their team taking a surprising commanding lead for the series. There should be a herd of fans buying Warriors tickets as well, hoping their best team in franchise history can continue their magical run.
It’s time for Curry to validate why he was honored as this year’s most valuable player. The same could be said for fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson, as these two players were the biggest reasons for Golden State’s major success in the 2014-15 season. In both of the Warriors’ losses in this series, however, they’ve been a bit of a letdown, struggling with their shot from deep. In fact, the Warriors, who live and die by the three-ball, are shooting just 23.1 percent from behind the arc as a team. Curry and Thompson must get their shot going to set the tone and retake control of this series.
In the Game 2 loss, Curry finished with 19 points, shooting 2-for-11 from three-point distance, and Thompson recorded 13 points while being not any better from beyond the arc, shooting 1-for-6. And in Game 3, the “Splash Brothers” shot 5-for-16 from deep. If they can’t get going, the Warriors will have a hard time functioning at an elite level, and therefore must find a way to get their backcourt going offensively and negate Allen and others from disrupting the offense that generates from their backcourt.