Curry, Thompson send Warriors into Western Conference finals

May 13, 2022, 9:59 AM | Updated: 11:17 pm
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies center Ste...

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Western Conference playoff semifinal in San Francisco, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — This kind of playoff triumph is three years in the making for Klay Thompson, who 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 up a congratulatory hug.

Instead, Thompson told Brown how much he will miss him next season when Brown takes over the Sacramento Kings — but they still have plenty of basketball left together.

Thompson knocked down eight 3-pointers on the way 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.

“Honestly, especially the perspective I’ve gained from the injuries I’ve had, to now be able to compete at 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 and made two straight baskets for a 78-77 lead entering the final 12 minutes. Draymond Green contributed 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Kevon Looney returned to the starting lineup and grabbed 22 rebounds while Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth with a pair of timely 3s.

It was Curry and Green who 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 2 1/2-year absence with a pair of 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 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 will only make Memphis better.

“They know that we’re going to come every single year,” he said. “We’re young, they’re getting old so they know we’re coming every single year.”

After Wednesday’s 134-95 debacle on the Grizzlies’ home floor in which they trailed by as many as 55, the Warriors were determined to do everything better, especially 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 10 consecutive points, with a pair of layups by Green and a 3 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 that earned Brooks a Flagrant 2 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 in 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’S TOUCH

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 and mostly due to his absence,” Green said.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Brooks had three flagrant points and finished one from an automatic one-game suspension. … Memphis missed its final 10 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, still sidelined with a left cervical disc injury, is scheduled to be re-evaluated again later next week.

FRIDAY THE 13TH

The Warriors had a playoff game on Friday the 13th for just 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 semifinals to win the series 4-2, according to Elias.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Fireworks erupt over RingCentral Coliseum after a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and t...
Associated Press

Oakland Police: four fans hurt when hit by bullet fragments

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Four baseball fans were injured by bullet fragments from outside the Coliseum while attending a postgame July 4 fireworks show, Oakland Police and the team said Tuesday. None of the injuries were life-threatening, police and the A’s said. Because the A’s 5-1 victory over the Blue Jays lasted just 2 hours, […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Allyson Felix, of the United States, prepares to start in a semifinal of the women's 400 met...
Associated Press

Allyson Felix gets mixed relay nod, heading to 10th worlds

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Allyson Felix was named to her 10th world championship team, where she will have a chance to run in the mixed relay event and add to her record medal collection. Felix, whose 18 medals are the most in world-championship history, has announced that this will be her final season in track. At […]
18 hours ago
A fan holds a happy birthday sign as Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani signs autographs before the ...
Associated Press

LEADING OFF: Ohtani excelling on mound, Javier an Astros ace

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Wednesday: ___ SHO AND TELL Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani takes a scoreless streak of 21 2/3 innings to the mound when he starts at Miami. Ohtani (7-4, 2.63 ERA) has won four straight starts, allowing just one run in that span. He’s struck out 101 […]
18 hours ago
Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez slides after making a catch for the out on San Dieg...
Associated Press

Gilbert wins 10th, surging Mariners sweep sliding Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Logan Gilbert earned his 10th win to tie for the major league lead, Sam Haggerty hit his first home run in over two months and the Seattle Mariners beat the San Diego Padres 6-2 on Tuesday. The Mariners, who have won 12 of their last 15 games, swept the two-game set […]
18 hours ago
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur returns from between her legs to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in a wom...
Associated Press

Ons Jabeur makes more history for Arab women at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — To the many “firsts” filling Ons Jabeur’s résumé, add a new one: First Arab woman to reach the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament. The third-seeded Tunisian improved on last year’s quarterfinal run at Wimbledon by doing one better on Tuesday at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. She beat Marie Bouzkova […]
18 hours ago
Pato O'Ward leads the field at the drop of the green flag during an IndyCar auto race at Mid-Ohio S...
Associated Press

Michael Andretti calls Mid-Ohio team actions unacceptable

Michael Andretti acknowledged Tuesday that the meltdown of his IndyCar team at Mid-Ohio was unacceptable and said his four drivers will be expected to work together as teammates the remainder of the season. Andretti led an emergency meeting after Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where a fracture in the Andretti Autosport lineup was […]
18 hours ago
Curry, Thompson send Warriors into Western Conference finals