With their 97-90 victory on Tuesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies became just the fifth team in the last 15 years to spoil a pre-game MVP award celebration.
Mike Conley’s dramatic Game 2 return from injury keyed the Memphis Grizzlies’ 97–90 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Along with his 22 points, Conley’s gritty defensive effort played a major role in limiting league MVP Stephen Curry to 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field and an abysmal 2-of-11 from three-point land.
The Warriors’ defeat, which came after Golden State faithful cheered in celebration of Curry’s 2014-15 campaign, was just the fifth time in the last 15 years that the league MVP’s celebration was spoiled in front of his home crowd.
Lebron James’ pregame MVP celebrations have been ruined twice. In 2013, the Miami Heat fell to the visiting Chicago Bulls, 93–86, in Game 1 of the East semifinals. Earlier in his career, James’ Cleveland Cavaliers lost Game 2 of the East semifinals to the visiting Boston Celtics, 104–86.
Garnett’s Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the visiting Sacramento Kings in Game 1 of the 2004 West semifinals, 104–98. Two years earlier, the Los Angeles Lakers spoiled Duncan’s pregame festivities with a 99–89 defeat in Game 3 of the 2002 West semifinals.
Of the four previous instances, only two of the MVPs managed to overcome the loss and lead their team to series victories. James guided the Heat to four-straight wins to advance past the Bulls and Garnett’s Wolves managed to top the Kings in Game 7.