Damian Lillard has become known for “Dame Time” during his time in the NBA, but tonight belonged entirely to Mike Conley as the Memphis Grizzlies completed a 120-111 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at FedExForum. Mike Conley finished with a career-high 40 points and was clearly the best player on the court.
What makes this win special for the Grizzlies is that it looked like it was going to be a rout early on as the Blazers jumped out to a 33-20 lead on 62% shooting at the end of the first quarter. Infamous Grizz Killer CJ McCollum led them with 9 points.
Before the trade deadline, the Grizzlies had completely lost the spark that ignited Grit ‘N’ Grind. Whenever they took a punch to the mouth, they generally just stayed on the canvas. There was no heart and no perseverance.
As shown tonight, that is no longer the case with the post-deadline Grizzlies.
After cutting the lead to two at 63-61 at halftime, the Grizzlies stayed in the game throughout the entire third quarter until Mike Conley decisively took over the game in the fourth. He scored 18 points in the final frame (all of them coming in the last eight minutes of the quarter!!!) and made a definitive statement of his place among the NBA’s great point guards.
There were plenty of other encouraging signs moving forward as well. After an impressive night against the Thunder on Sunday, Delon Wright easily had his best game as a Grizzly, finishing with 25 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes. Joakim Noah continued his stellar play with a near triple-double, totaling 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists. Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points in 21 minutes.
There will be many questions that will need to be answered in the future for the Memphis Grizzlies such as whether they should consider keeping Mike Conley, who appears to be at his absolute peak. But for now, they can enjoy an impressive resilient win over a solid playoff contender.