Andrew Wiggins gave Golden State the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 6:29 to go and the Warriors earned a sixth trip to the Western Conference finals in the past eight years with a 110-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday in Game 6 of their first-round series in San Francisco.
Klay Thompson had a game-high-tying 30 points, Stephen Curry added 29 and Kevon Looney led a dominant effort on the boards with a career-high 22 rebounds for the third-seeded Warriors, who successfully rebounded from a 39-point shellacking in Game 5 at Memphis.
The Warriors, who won three championships between 2015 and ’18 but missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons, will face either top-seeded Phoenix or fourth-seeded Dallas in the Western finals. The Suns host the Mavericks in a decisive Game 7 on Sunday.
“I know it became routine, but it’s a special, special activity,” Thompson said of reaching the conference finals. “We don’t take that lightly. It’s just so special. I’m going to enjoy it tonight and I’m going to be hungry when the time comes.”
After neither team led by more than nine points in a tightly contested first three quarters, the sides traded the lead three times and mixed in a pair of ties before Wiggins buried his go-ahead 3-pointer for a 90-89 advantage.
Wiggins then added a dunk, Curry a 3-pointer and Draymond Green a dunk off a Looney assist as Golden State scored the next seven points to go up 97-89 with 5:04 remaining.
The second-seeded Grizzlies, who effectively lost home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series with a home loss in Game 1, got no closer than seven after that.
“Congrats to the Warriors,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “One heckuva series. Very competitive for six games. … This obviously stings. Such a special season with a special group. I want them to cherish that and remember that despite the loss and the end of the season right now. It’s going to motivate us.”
Thompson’s 30 points came on 11-for-22 shooting, including 8-for-14 from 3-point range. Curry hit 10 of his 27 shots and six of his 17 3-point attempts. They combined for 14 of Golden State’s 20 3-pointers, as the Warriors outscored the Ja Morant-less Grizzlies 60-45 from beyond the arc.
Wiggins finished with 18 points and Jordan Poole had 12 for Golden State. Green dished out a game-high-tying eight assists to complement a 14-point, 15-rebound double-double.
Golden State overcame 19 turnovers by outrebounding Memphis 70-44, including 25-10 on the offensive boards. Half of Looney’s 22 rebounds, eight more than he’d ever previously recorded in a playoff game and four more than he ever had in a regular-season game, came on the offensive end.
“Kevon was so big-time,” Thompson said. “That team was so physical over there. Kevon just knows where to be. He’s great at the rim. He’s a Warrior for life. He’s just a pleasure to play with.”
Wiggins was a third Warrior with double-digit rebounds, grabbing 11 to complete the team’s second double-double.
Memphis’ Dillon Brooks, who served a one-game suspension earlier for a flagrant foul that knocked Gary Payton II out of the series, matched Thompson for game-high scoring honors with 30 points. He made 7 of 15 long-range attempts.
Desmond Bane buried four 3-pointers on a 25-point night for the Grizzlies, while Jaren Jackson Jr. added 12 points and four blocks. Steven Adams had a team-high 10 rebounds and Tyus Jones logged seven points, eight assists and nine rebounds.
–Field Level Media