It wasn’t always pretty, but the Golden State Warriors are on their way back to the Western Conference Finals. Thanks to a vintage performance by the Splash Brothers, Golden State beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 110-96, on Friday night to earn a Game 6 win and secure their spot in the next round of the playoffs.
Both teams got off to a hot start — Golden State knocked down seven of 13 attempts from deep, while Memphis went 5-for-12 from downtown. Because it was Game 6 in the playoffs, Klay Thompson had one of his best individual quarterbacks in the first, scoring 11 points on 3-on-3 shooting on three, while Steph Curry had six and knocked down a pair of triples.
That helped the Warriors lead 30-26 after one, though Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane combined for 19 points and four shots from deep.
Despite Thompson’s hot shot continuing into the second quarter, Memphis managed to snatch a 14-0 run to come back up, 51-44, but it was a short-lived lead. At that point, Golden State was able to regroup and respond with a 9-0 run to take a 53-51 locker room lead. Brooks’ 18 was a high, while Thompson had 17 and Curry had 14.
For years, the Warriors have punished teams in the third quarter of home playoff games. That wasn’t the case this time around, as neither attack seemed able to really get a feel for things for long stretches during the period. The shots you might expect both teams to hit weren’t falling, the Warriors kept turning the ball over and for much of the quarter Golden State simply won a war of attrition, largely on shooting Continuous Thompson.
However, they never really slammed the door shut and thanks to a 7-0 run late in the third that featured a nice lay-up from Bane via contact, Memphis were able to take a brief lead.
While the Warriors were able to respond immediately, their lead was only 78-77 entering the final period of the game. Once again, neither team managed to get ahead of the other, but the first big tedder arrived halfway through the period. After Bane hit a triple to put the Grizzlies by two, Andrew Wiggins and Curry combined for an 8-0 run from the Warriors to give them some much-needed breathing room.
To continue the boxing analogy, Golden State realized they had Memphis on the ropes and continued to punch their opponent, knowing the end was near. The knockout blow came with just under three minutes left, when a pair of offensive rebounds from Kevon Looney led Thompson to hit his eighth three of the night.
In total, Golden State went 21-3 in over five minutes of action to shut the door outright on this streak and return to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2019. The 30 points and eight Thompson’s rebounds led the way for Golden State, while Curry had 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Wiggins had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Green nearly had a triple-double with 14 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, while Looney gave them four points, five assists and 22 rebounds, half of them on the offensive glass. Brooks scored 30 points to lead the Grizzlies, while Bane had 25 with seven rebounds.
Now the Warriors will be waiting to see if they face the Phoenix Suns or the Dallas Mavericks. The two teams will face off on Sunday and the winner will earn the other spot in the conference finals.