Warriors made into western conference finals;
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shine with the ball.
San Francisco (U S)- Thompson knocked down eight 3-pointers to 30 points, Stephen Curry scored 29 with six 3s, and the Warriors eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies with a 110-96 win in Game 6 on Friday night.
A trip to the Western Conference finals is next, and coach Steve Kerr should be healthy from his bout with COVID-19.
Klay Thompson is already waiting for this kind of playoff victory for three years, having endured countless hours of rehab and heartbreak to get here.
And after another spectacular shooting performance on the big stage, coach Mike Brown wanted to congratulate him.
Instead, Thompson told Brown that he would miss him when Brown took over the Sacramento Kings next season but that they still have a lot of basketball together.
“Honestly, especially the perspective I’ve gained from the injuries I’ve had, to now be able to compete at the highest level and be one of the final four teams, it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe, honestly,” Thompson said. “It’s truly amazing, and it just inspires me to keep going because I think we still have great basketball ahead of me.”
Curry found his shooting touch late in the game, making two consecutive baskets to take a 78-77 lead into the final 12 minutes. With 14 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists, Draymond Green led the way. Kevon Looney returned to the starting lineup and grabbed 22 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of clutch three-pointers.
Curry and Green pushed for Looney to start after the Warriors discussed it on the flight home from Memphis after Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat.
Golden State — sent home by Memphis in the play-in tournament last year — withstood a testy series to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached its fifth straight NBA Finals before losing to Toronto.
The third-seeded Warriors will face the Phoenix-Dallas winner in the conference finals. Game 7 of that series is Sunday in Phoenix.
Thompson is back shining in the playoffs after his two 1/2-year absence with serious injuries, first recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee and then an operation for a torn right Achilles tendon.
“That’s Klay. He expects to go out there and play great,” Brown said. “We expect him to go out there and play great.”
“Whoop that trick!” the delighted, raucous home crowd chanted in the waning moments, the fans’ steal away from Memphis.
“It was good to see the fans embrace that,” Green said.
Dillon Brooks scored 30 points with a career-best seven 3-pointers but picked up his second flagrant foul of the series. Desmond Bane added 25.
Curry checked back in for the final at 8:21 and delivered a 3 with 5:45 remaining off a beautiful bounce pass by Green. Looney found Green for an easy dunk the next time down, capping a decisive 10-0 run.
Brooks considered the challenge of facing the Splash Brothers something that would only make Memphis better.
“They know that we’ll come every year,” he said. “We’re young, they’re getting old, so they know we’re coming every year.”
After Wednesday’s 134-95 debacle on the Grizzlies’ home floor, which trailed by as many as 55, the Warriors were determined to do everything better, significantly cutting down on the 22 turnovers leading to 29 points.
The Warriors outrebounded the Grizzlies 70-44, becoming the first team to grab 70 rebounds in a playoff game since San Antonio had 75 against Denver on May 4, 1983.
Bane scored the first two baskets of the game before the Warriors ran off ten consecutive points, with a pair of layups by Green and a three by both Curry and Thompson.
Looney started after Jonathan Kuminga had the previous three games following the injury to guard Gary Payton II. He broke his left elbow in an awkward fall after being hit over the head by Brooks in Game 2, which earned Brooks a Flagrant two foul and one-game suspension.
He was booed loudly again at every chance by the sellout crowd at Chase Center. When Payton was shown on the big screen during a first-quarter timeout, he received a rousing ovation and touched his hand to his heart before encouraging them to get louder.
Memphis again played without All-Star guard Ja Morant, who missed his third straight game with a bone bruise in his troublesome right knee that the Grizzlies blamed on Jordan Poole pulling on the knee while going for a loose ball Game 3.
“Ja is one of the best point guards in this league, so you guys know that obviously, it would change,” Brooks said. “But we made do with what we had.”
Thompson shot 11 for 22 — 8 of 14 from long range — and notched his fourth career postseason game with eight 3s to tie Ray Allen, Curry, and Damian Lillard for most in NBA history.
“We went on a two-year hiatus from the playoffs, mostly due to his absence,” Green said.
Grizzlies: Brooks had three flagrant points and finished one from an automatic one-game suspension. … Memphis missed its final ten shots of the second quarter. … The Grizzlies held a 55-37 rebounding advantage in Game 5.
Warriors: Curry was 6 for 17 from deep. … Looney’s 11 first-quarter rebounds were a career-high for any quarter. … F Otto Porter Jr. was out with soreness in his right foot. … Veteran Andre Iguodala is still sidelined with a left cervical disc injury, is scheduled to be re-evaluated later next week.
FRIDAY THE 13TH
The Warriors had a playoff game on Friday the 13th for just the second time in franchise history. According to Elias, they beat the Bucks 100-86 on April 13, 1973, in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals to win the series 4-2.