David Joerger and Mike Conley
IN PHOTO: May 5, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Joerger (left) instructs guard Mike Conley (11) during the first quarter in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. REUTERS/Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Without Mike Conley in the line-up, the Memphis Grizzlies struggled in the opening game of their best-of-seven series against the Golden State Warriors. There was no such struggle with their court general back, as Grizzlies beat the Warriors, 97-90 in Game 2 to steal homecourt advantage of the Western Conference semi-finals.

Conley, who is coming off a facial surgery that required him to wear a mask in Tuesday’s game, led the way with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Grizzlies, which tied the series at one game apiece with the best-of-seven affair shifting to Memphis for the next two games.

Inspired by the return of their leader, the Grizzlies played to perfection their grind-it-out style to put the clamps down on the Warriors’ leading scorers. Newly-crowned Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry finished with 19 points but missed 12-of-19 shots overall and 2-of-11 from the three-point line. His backcourt partner, Klay Thompson did even worse ending up with 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting and missing 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

The Grizzlies led 28-22 after the first quarter and 50-39 after the first half. Golden State rallied from the double-digit deficit to cut down the lead to seven points, 87-80 with over three minutes to go in the game. Conley hit a clutch three-pointer to push the lead back to 10 points and the Grizzlies held on to the victory.

Helping Conley out on offence were Zach Randolph (20 points and 7 rebounds), Marc Gasol (15 points and 6 rebounds) and Courtney Lee (15 points). But defence was the name of the game as usual for the Grizzlies, which held the home team to just 31-of-74 field goal shooting (41.9%) and forced 20 turnovers. Tony Allen had four steals for the night.

Both teams will have a three-day rest before Saturday’s Game 3 set in Memphis.

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