Mike Conley was incredible in his return from facial surgery, scoring 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also made three of the Memphis’ five three-pointers, including an absolute dagger shot in the Grizzlies’ 97-90 win over the Warriors in Game 2. It was amazing. I saw Conley’s face in the interview room after the game. The photo I took with my phone doesn’t do it justice, but his left eye looks terrible.
Conley looked like he might’ve been re-injured on a play that occurred on the floor, when Draymond Green tried to grab the ball as Conley was calling timeout and made contact with Conley’s face.
Conley was clearly able to return to the game and produce, but many fans thought during the game that Green’s contact was a cheap shot of sorts.
After the game Green talked about the game, and his interview concluded with a couple questions on the Conley play. I’ve transcribed his comments and included the video, so you can see exactly how he explained what happened.
“He was laying on the floor with the ball in the air and I reached for the ball. Obviously it was near his face, I made a mistake and hit him in his face. A lot of respect for Mike Conley, obviously I wouldn’t try to intentionally hurt anyone. But especially a guy that you have a ton of respect for.
“I’m a big fan of the NBA. Mike Conley’s a guy who came in the league and wasn’t expected to be what he’s grown into. Obviously he’s a hard worker and I respect hard workers. So I would never try to intentionally hurt a guy and I let him know that.
“But just because a guy has a mask on his face doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to go after the ball. I see him try to call for a timeout. I’m going to try to tie the ball up before the referee calls a timeout.
“A lot of people on my Twitter giving me hate, telling me ‘don’t come to Memphis’ and all that stuff. But they can make it out to be that I tried to hit Conley in the face on purpose if they want to, but it doesn’t make me feel any different. I know I didn’t hit him in the face on purpose. I would never do anything like that, so we move on from there.”
When Zach came over to talk to you, was he just playing with you?
“Yeah. He’s a big brother to me. Definitely. We were just joking around.
“You see the replay and obviously if you want to be one of those keyboard warriors that just want to complain about something then you’ll continue to say, ‘Well, you did that on purpose.’ When you see the replay, you know. So, whatever.”