Sacramento Kings v Utah Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz handles the ball against the Sacramento Kings on January 18, 2020 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Mike Conley beats Chicago's Zach LaVine to win ESPN's HORSE competition

by Aaron Falk

C-H-A-M-P.

Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley beat Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine to earn the honors of HORSE champion on Thursday night.

After topping WNBA legend Tamika Catchings in the quarterfinals last week, Conley took care of business against retired NBA star Chauncey Billups in the semifinals before besting LaVine in the star-studded competition on ESPN.

Conley’s victory netted a $200,000 donation to a charity of his choice.

Conley got LaVine in a two-letter hole by banking in a behind-the-back shot and sinking an eyes-closed free throw. Then he followed up with an off-handed 3-pointer, a move he’d used throughout the competition.

“I know you’ve got an array of shots to pull from,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder told Conely. “Make sure you don’t forget about the ambidextrous package. It’s always hard for me to remember if the left or the right is the strong hand.”

Conley ultimately finished LaVine by sinking a layup from the other side of the backboard.

“It’s cool, especially just being a part of the first one,” Conley said after his win. “To be able to compete with these guys, they were great opponents. It was just a fun environment to be part of it and give us all something to do in this time when we’re all just sitting around the house.”

But, as Conley said, if it takes staying at home to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's the right thing for people to do.

“Stay safe right now, please,” Conley told fans. “These are desperate times all over the world, frankly. We’re all affected by it. The best thing we can do is to help each other and if that’s staying away from each other, let’s practice that and stay safe in that way.”

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