OKC Thunder: Mike Conley Jr. crowned H-O-R-S-E champion

Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz guards Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz guards Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder star Chris Paul wasn’t in the mix as the H-O-R-S-E challenge progressed to the semi and final rounds with Mike Conley Jr. winning the title.

The semi-finals and finals of the ESPN H-O-R-S-E competition were aired on Thursday evening with Utah Jazz Mike Conley winning the event. Unfortunately, OKC Thunder captain Chris Paul didn’t advance as he fell to WNBA star Allie Quigley who proved to be a tough out in both her matches.

To recap the six players who joined Paul and Quigley in the initial stage last Sunday were Zach LaVine, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Trae Young, Mike Conley Jr., and Tamika Catchings.

From this octet, the four who advanced to the semis were former player Billups versus Jazz guard Conley Jr., and WNBA star Quigley versus Bulls star LaVine.

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In the quarter-finals, the only pairing that was competitive was the one featuring Chris Paul. Thankfully, both matches in the semis, as well as the finals, were much more competitive.

The event tipped off with Conley and Mr. Big Shot but the former Pistons star didn’t have quite the same accuracy he displayed in the first round. Although Quigley did put up a fight LaVine’s athleticism was a definite advantage as he moved on to face Conley.

Let’s point out the obvious – Conley was the only player not dealing with weather conditions like slippery courts due to rain, wind or sun in his eyes since he played on his indoor court. That said, if there was a true advantage for the Jazz guard it was the fact he’s ambidextrous. Having the ability to shoot and use both hands with equal adeptness proved to be the winning recipe.

The Jazz guard took the match registering only an H-O versus the more physical LaVine who wasn’t able to throw off Conley with his athleticism or height advantage.

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Notably, the ESPN event was held in collaboration with the NBA and sponsor State Farm with the most important factor being the $200,000 donated to support coronavirus response efforts.