It became official Monday, as Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry earned his first NBA MVP award, receiving it in the midst of his team’s second round Western Conference semifinals matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies. Before the news even came out, Curry already was looking very much like an MVP in Game 1 of this clash yesterday afternoon.
Curry shot 50-percent from downtown (4-for-8) en route to a team-high 22 points, leading the Warriors to a 101-86 win over the Mike Conley-less Grizzlies in the opener. But it wasn’t just Curry who had a good game. His backcourt-mate, Klay Thompson, poured in 18, Draymond Green added 16, and Harrison Barnes chipped in with 11. It was a total team effort that started very early in the game benefitting none other than the home team.
With a seven-point lead to begin the second quarter, Barnes and Andre Iguodala would spearhead a 7-4 run within the first two minutes of the period. Collectively, they converted three consecutive baskets, capped off by Iggy’s three which put the Warriors up by ten, 39-29, with a little under ten minutes remaining in the quarter. Surprisingly, it was all the Warriors would need for the remainder of the game as they were able to fend off the Grizzlies’ attack due to their efficient offense.
The Warriors are the favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, and now boasting the NBA’s 2014-15 MVP of the league in Curry, there’s no better time to watch the show in Oakland. Based on the demand for this game, Warriors tickets at Oracle Arena are averaging $340.75, with a get-in price of $118, which are expectedly high due to the rabid fan-base possessed by Golden State. Memphis also has a loyal collection of fans, and as a result, Grizzlies tickets have drawn a lot of action both on the road and for their upcoming home games.
If the Grizzlies are going to have a shot in this series, its hopes rest on the injured Conley to return, who is one of the better floor generals in the league. Conley told ESPN’s Doris Burke that he hopes to appear in Game 2, and has been out after suffering multiple fractures to the face after being elbowed in Game 3 of the Grizzlies’ first round series with the Portland Trail Blazers, which required surgery on April 27. In his absence, Nick Calathes started and failed to contribute, posting a donut performance with zero points. In other words, this will be a short series for the Grizz if Conley continues to collect DNP’s and NBA fans worldwide will lose out on what could’ve been an entertaining series because of the differences in team strengths.