Warriors buzz Grizzlies, 122-120, in razor-thin Thriller
By Emmanuel Rivera, RRT
Thu, 26 Jan 2023
Chase Center, California: Jordan Poole made a memorable deuce that powered Golden State past Memphis Grizzlies, 122-120, in a wild finish, Wednesday.
With 2.1 seconds left, an in-bound laser pass from Donte DiVincenzo turned into a nifty catch-and-release layup by Poole that sent the Grizzlies packing and the 454th consecutive sellout crowd (the longest streak in franchise history) smiling all the way home.
Jordan Poole posted 21 points, including his third career game-winning shot and, likewise, his 13th 20-point game in the last 15 games (25.9 points per game in that span).
Stephen Curry punched in a game-high 34 points- his 18th 30-point game of the season. In the process, Chef Curry notched his 21,000th career points, thus, becoming the first Warrior to reach the milestone.
The celebration almost went kaput as Curry received his third career ejection (second in the regular season) with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter- due to a combination of nerves, frustration and excitement- when he threw his mouthpiece into the crowd which is an automatic expulsion. We can recall Curry’s previous two ejections on 6/16/16 Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Cleveland, 10/21/17 at Memphis, before tonight’s. In the last four games, Curry is averaging 32.5 points per game.
Klay Thompson contributed 24 points, breaching the 20-point range for the 9th time in the last 11 games- scoring 27.0 points per game during that stretch.
Jonathan Kuminga made his sixth start of the season and made 13 points. In the last three games, after missing the previous eight games due to a right foot sprain, Kuminga has scored 10-or-more points, averaging 14.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists in 25.0 minutes per game.
Draymond Green had 10-or-more rebounds in each of the last three games, tonight marked his ninth outing of the season with 10-or-more rebounds. He recorded three blocks, matching a season high for the fourth time. Green is averaging 9.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in the last three contests.
Per the statisticians at the Warriors Organization, The Warriors won for the fifth time this season (all at home), when trailing by 10-or-more points. Golden State is now 9-2 at home when facing teams that entered the game with a record of .500-or-better. The Warriors improved to 17-3 this season when scoring 120-plus points. Golden State won for the first time in seven games this season when committing 20-or-more turnovers (22 turnovers tonight). The Warriors had 33 assists, recording their league-leading 25th game of 30-or-more assists.
The Warriors improved to 8-2 this season when three players scored at least 20 points. Their defense surrendered 42 third-quarter points to Memphis, the second most they have given up in the third frame to any opponent this season (43, twice).
The Warriors snapped a season-long four game home-losing streak and improved to 18-6 at Chase Center, including 11-2 vs. teams from the Western Conference. Also, the Warriors improved to 12-2 when shooting 50% or-better from the field (50.6% tonight).
It was an exciting, oscillating game that featured 15 ties between last season’s Western Conference semi-finalists.
The Grizzlies had the game almost in a neat package but faltered late, losing their 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Memphis’ Brandon Clarke tied it up for the 15th time, 120-all, with an emphatic dunk with 6.3 seconds left on a pass from Ja Morant.
Just prior to that, Klay Thompson’s 3-pointer with 14.6 remaining put the Warriors ahead. Thompson subsequently missed a baseline jumper with 5 seconds left, and then Golden State later threw the ball out of bounds.
Ja Morant finished with 29 points and 12 assists for Memphis after missing a game with an ankle injury. He sank two free throws with 26.6 seconds left to put Memphis ahead before Thompson's big trey. Morant, who missed a loss Monday night at Sacramento because of soreness in his left ankle, dished to Brandon Clarke for an alley-oop layup and three-point play with 4:10 remaining. In retaliation, Curry and Jordan Poole made consecutive layups.
Desmond Bane added 20 points for the Grizzlies to make up for their big man Steven Adam's absence due to a knee injury that might take a while to heal.
This is the first time this season the Grizzlies (31-17) have lost a game after leading by 10 in the fourth quarter.
All night, Stephen Curry (sporting a new haircut) outhustled Ja Morant, and tied the game, 113-all, with 2:18 left and made 3 free throws at the 1:55 mark, before being ejected with 1:14 that left Coach Steve Kerr baffled, at first.
Said Coach Kerr at the post-game presser: “When the ref called it, I was confused and then the coaches told me he threw the mouthpiece down out of anger, and I guess he threw it into the stands? Yeah, I think that's an automatic ejection. So, he knows he can't make that mistake again. But I was really proud of the guys. They fought through and executed down the stretch. And got us the win.”
Of interest, a visibly bored (perhaps exhausted) Klay Thompson was terse and threw a paper plane towards my direction but hit another reporter instead.
Said Klay…ON BEATING THE GRIZZLIES:
“Well I don’t think history's very deep, but it felt great. I think it was a much-needed win, back to .500, in the driver’s seat again. So, it's something we can build on. That’s what’s the most important part.”
Added Klay…ON IF SEEING STEPHEN CURRY EJECTED CHANGES THEIR MINDSET:
“No…just to be myself and to look for great shots. I mean we shot such a great percentage tonight. Cut down on our fouling and maybe our turnovers we probably would have won that game handily. But a win’s a win. When Steph went out we just were looking to get a good look and luckily I got a great look off that screen and knocked it down, and then great out of bounds play at the end. So, it's just a collective effort.”
Golden State Warriors (24-24): Host Toronto Raptors (22-27)on Friday night
Memphis Grizzlies (31-17): Visit Minnesota Timberwolves (25-26) on Friday night.
Note of Appreciation:
Special thanks to Messrs. Raymond Ridder, Brett Winkler, Cole Lawrence, Darryl Arata, and the Warriors staff for their kind assistance and statistics.
The photo collages of Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Jordan Poole and Coach Steve Kerr at the post-game presser were taken by this aspiring writer.
The banner photos and video link are courtesy of the NBA and brought to you by PhilBoxing.com.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.
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