NBA coaches voted Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley to this season's NBA All-Defensive second team.
Teammate and former Oklahoma State standout Tony Allen was selected to the first team. Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was a second-team choice and previously was selected by league media as NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Conley led Memphis to a 99-93 victory in Game 2 of this Western Conference semifinal series against the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena, scoring a team-high 26 points, including 13 in the fourth period, and added 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Q: How different is the Thunder without Russell Westbrook?
Conley: “You miss a guy like Russell, who's an All-Star and such an offensive and defensive threat. Obviously they're a different team. It's tough to kind of tell you exactly how they're different. You see what Russell gives them, the offense, the free-throw opportunities, all the things he does applying pressure offensive all game long. He makes home-run plays. He makes big shots and I know they miss that from him.”
What was your reaction when you first heard Westbrook would be out for the postseason after having knee surgery? You were playing the Los Angeles Clippers at the time, but did you look ahead to possibly getting a chance to play OKC without him available?
“Not looking ahead. It was just unfortunate for him. I wish him good luck with it and all that, but we would rather him be playing. We like to play against teams who have everybody and it's just unfortunate he's not here to be part of their playoff run.”
Has the play of his replacement, Reggie Jackson, surprised you?
“I wouldn't say he surprised us. We knew he was a good player. We knew given the opportunity that he was going to go out there and play how he's capable of playing, so we understand he's got big shoes to fill with Russell being out but he's done a great job for him. We've had to adjust to certain things that he does in order to make it tough on him.”
Two years ago in Game 4 of the second round, you and the Thunder played a triple-overtime game at FedExForum, which the Thunder won 133-123. You made a 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left in regulation to send the game into it first overtime. What do you recall about that game?
“Big plays, big shots, big performances by a lot of people. Obviously, Russell (40 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals) had a big night. KD (Kevin Durant) had a big night (35 points, 13 rebounds, four steals). A lot of guys made big shots. Greivis (Vasquez) made big shots. It was a fun game. It was an exhausting game.”