The Pillars of Mike Conley's Breakthrough Season

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The Pillars of Mike Conley's Breakthrough Season
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

When Mike Conley scored nine points in the final four-and-a-half minutes to complete a comeback against the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum on Monday night, it felt like the final breakthrough of what has been — so far — a career-best campaign. Taking over a game offensively in the final minutes was something relatively new, but playing well late wasn't. And how Conley did it — with three driving lay-ups and a three pointer, playing some off the ball alongside sixth-man Jerryd Bayless — was a microcosm of larger trends helping drive Conley's emergence. Organizations and coaches love it when a plan comes together. For Conley, the preseason plan was to play less while doing more — reduce his playing time some while having him become more dynamic and productive and having him hold up better late in games.

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