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 from the Splash Brothers, Golden State beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 110-96, on Friday night to pick up a win in Game 6 and secure their spot in the next round of the postseason.
Both teams got off to hot shooting starts — Golden State knocked down seven of its 13 attempts from deep, while Memphis went 5-for-12 from downtown. Because it was a Game 6 in the playoffs, Klay Thompson had one of his best individual quarters in the first, scoring 11 points on 3-for-3 shooting from three, while Steph Curry had six and knocked down a pair of triples.
This helped the Warriors lead 30-26 after one, even though Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane combined for 19 points and four made shots from deep.
Despite the hot shooting by Thompson continuing to the second quarter, Memphis was able to rip off a 14-0 run to go up, 51-44, but it was a short-lived lead. At that point, Golden State was able to compose itself and respond with a 9-0 run of its own to take a 53-51 lead into the locker room. Brooks’ 18 was a game-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 offense seemed to be able to really get a feel of things for long stretches in the period. Shots you might expect both teams to hit were not falling, the Warriors kept turning the ball over, and for much of the quarter, Golden State simply won a war of attrition, thanks in large part to Thompson’s continued hot shooting.
They never really slammed the door shut, though, and thanks to a 7-0 run late in the third that featured a lovely Bane layup through contact, Memphis was able to take a brief lead.
While the Warriors were able to immediately respond, their lead was only 78-77 at the start of the game’s final frame. Once again, neither team was able to get a leg-up on the other, but the first big haymaker came halfway through the period. After Bane hit a triple to put the Grizzlies up by two, Andrew Wiggins and Curry combined for a 8-0 Warriors run to give them some much-needed breathing room.
To continue the boxing analogy, Golden State realized it had Memphis on the ropes and kept pummeling its opponent, knowing the end was near. The knockout blow came with just under three minutes remaining, when a pair of Kevon Looney offensive rebounds led to Thompson hitting his eighth three of the night.
In all, Golden State went on a 21-3 run over more than five minutes of action to emphatically shut the door on this series and get back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2019. Thompson’s 30 points and eight 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 which came on the offensive glass. Brooks scored 30 points to lead the Grizzlies, while Bane had 25 with seven rebounds.
Now, the Warriors will wait to see if they’ll play the Phoenix Suns or the Dallas Mavericks. The two teams will square off on Sunday with the winner securing the other spot in the conference finals.