SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – This kind of playoff triumph has been on the way for three years for Klay Thompson, who has endured countless hours of rehab and heartache to reach this point again.
And after another spectacular shooting performance on the big stage, coach Mike Brown just wanted to offer a congratulatory hug.
Instead, Thompson told Brown how much he will miss him next season when Brown takes control of the Sacramento Kings, but they still have a lot of basketball together.
Thompson took down eight 3 points on the road for 30 points, Stephen Curry scored 29 with six 3s and the Warriors knocked out the Memphis Grizzlies with a 110-96 win in Game 6 on Friday night.
The upcoming trip to the Western Conference Finals and coach Steve Kerr is expected to be in good health since his bout with COVID-19.
“Honestly, particularly the perspective I’ve gained from injuries I’ve had, to be able to compete at the highest level and be one of the last four teams, is a difficult feeling to describe honestly,” said Thompson. “It’s really great and it inspires me to move forward because I think we still have great basketball ahead of me.”
Curry found his shooting touch late and scored two baskets in a row for a 78-77 lead by entering the final 12 minutes. Draymond Green contributed 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Kevon Looney returned to his starting lineup and got 22 rebounds while Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 points in the quarter with a pair of timely 3s.
It was Curry and Green who pushed for Looney’s start after the Warriors discussed it on the return flight from Memphis following Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat.
Golden State – sent home from Memphis in last year’s play-in tournament – withstood a tough streak to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached its fifth consecutive NBA final before lose to Toronto.
Third-seeded Warriors will face the Phoenix-Dallas winner in the conference finals. Game 7 of that series is Sunday in Phoenix.
Thompson returned to shine in the playoffs after his 2 1/2 year absence with a couple of serious injuries, first recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee and then surgery for a torn right Achilles tendon.
“That’s Klay. He expects to go out there and play great, “Brown said.” We expect him to come out and play great. “
“Whoop what a trick!” the delighted and boisterous home crowd sang in the waning moments, the theft of fans from Memphis.
“It was great to see the fans hug him,” Green said.
Dillon Brooks scored 30 points with his best seven of three in his career, but took his second flagrant foul of the series. Desmond Bane added 25.
Curry checked in for the final 8:21 and handed a 3 with 5:45 remaining on a beautiful rebound pass from Green. Looney found Green for an easy dunk next time, finishing a decisive 10-0.
Brooks considered the challenge of taking on the Splash Brothers something that will only make Memphis better.
“They know we’re coming every single year,” he said. “We’re young, they’re getting older, so they know we’re going to come every single year.”
After Wednesday’s 134-95 debacle at the Grizzlies in which they were 55 behind, the Warriors were determined to do everything better, especially reducing the 22 turnovers leading to 29 points.
The Warriors overtook the Grizzlies 70-44, becoming the first team to get 70 rebounds in a playoff game since San Antonio was 75 against Denver on May 4, 1983.
Bane scored the first two baskets of the game before the Warriors finished 10 straight points, with a couple of layups from Green and a 3 from Curry and Thompson.
Looney started after Jonathan Kuminga had played the previous three games following injury to guard Gary Payton II. He broke his left elbow in an embarrassing fall after being hit in the head by Brooks in Game 2 which earned Brooks a Flagrant 2 foul and a one-match suspension.
He was booed loudly again on every occasion by the sold out crowd at the Chase Center. When Payton was shown on the big screen during the first quarter timeout, he received an overwhelming ovation and touched his heart with his hand before encouraging them to get stronger.
Memphis played again without All-Star guard Ja Morant, who missed his third straight game due to a bone bruise in his nagging right knee that the Grizzlies blamed on Jordan Poole pulling his knee while looking for a ball. roaming in Race 3.
“Ja is one of the best point guards in this league, so you guys know he would obviously change,” Brooks said. “But we made do with what we had.”
Thompson shot 11 of 22 – 8 of 14 from long range – and scored his fourth career post-season game with eight 3s to equal Ray Allen, Curry and Damian Lillard for the most part in NBA history.
“We went on a two-year hiatus from the playoffs and mostly because of his absence,” Green said.
Grizzlies: Brooks had three flagrant points and finished one with an automatic one-game suspension. … Memphis missed his last 10 shots of the second quarter. … The Grizzlies had a 55-37 rebound advantage in Game 5.
Warriors: Curry had 6 out of 17 from deep inside. … Looney’s 11 rebounds in the first quarter were his career high for any quarter. … F Otto Porter Jr. was out with pain in his right foot. … Veteran Andre Iguodala, still sidelined with a left cervical disc injury, is expected to be reevaluated again within the next week.
The Warriors played a playoff game on Friday the 13th for only the second time in franchise history, previously when they beat the Bucks 100-86 on April 13, 1973, in Game 6 of the Western Conference semi-finals to win the 4-2 series. according to Elijah.
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