SAN FRANCISCO — This playoff victory is three years for Klay Thompson, who has endured countless hours of rehab and heartache to get to this point again.
After another great shooting performance on the big stage, coach Mike Brown just wanted to offer a congratulatory hug.
Instead, Thompson told Brown how much he’ll miss him next season when he takes over the Sacramento Kings — but they still have a lot of basketball to do together.
Thompson made eight 3-pointers on the way to 30 points, Stephen Curry made six 3-pointers for 29, and the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 in Game 6 on Friday night .
Next up is a trip to the Western Conference finals, and coach Steve Kerr should stay healthy against COVID-19.
“Honestly, especially the point I’ve gotten from the injury, to be able to compete at the highest level now and be one of the last four teams, that feeling is hard to describe honestly,” Thompson said. “It’s been fantastic, it just motivates me to keep going because I think we still have great basketball in front of me.”
Curry found his shooting touch late, leading 78-77 on two straight baskets entering the final 12 minutes. Draymond Green contributed 14 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists. Kevin Rooney returned to the starting lineup and grabbed 22 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins had 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and made two just-in-time 3-pointers.
It was Curry and Green who pushed Looney to start after the Warriors discussed the issue on a flight home from Memphis following Wednesday’s embarrassing loss.
The Golden State Warriors — sent home by Memphis in the playoffs last year — weathered a tight series to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the team reached its fifth straight before losing to Toronto. NBA Finals.
The third-seeded Warriors will face the Phoenix-Dallas champions in the Western Conference finals. Game 7 of the series is Sunday in Phoenix.
Thompson is again making a big playoff run after missing 2 1/2 years with serious injuries, first recovering from surgery on a torn ACL in his left knee and then a torn right Achilles tendon.
“That’s Klay. He wants to go out there and play well,” Brown said. “We want him to come on and play well.”
“Oops, this trick!” the cheering, raucous home crowd chanted in fading moments as fans stole from Memphis.
“It’s great to see the fans embrace that,” Green said.
Dillon Brooks had 30 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers, but he fouled for the second time in the series. Desmond Bain added 25.
Curry returned in the final 8:21 to make a 3-pointer with 5:45 left on Green’s nifty bouncing pass. Rooney found Green for an easy dunk on the next trail to end the decisive game at 10-0.
Brooks believes that facing the Splash Brothers challenge will only make Memphis better.
“They know we come every year,” he said. “We’re young and they’re old, so they know we’re coming every year.”
Trailing by as many as 55 points after the Grizzlies’ 134-95 home loss on Wednesday, the Warriors are determined to do everything better, especially reducing the 22 turnovers that led to 29 points.
The Warriors beat the Grizzlies 70-44 in rebounding, becoming the first team to grab 70 rebounds in a playoff game since San Antonio’s 75 games against Denver on May 4, 1983.
Bane scored the first two baskets of the game, then the Warriors scored 10 straight points, Green made two layups and Curry and Thompson made two 3s.
Rooney started Jonathan Cuminga’s previous three games after defender Gary Payton II was injured. After being hit in the head by Brooks in Game 2, he broke his left elbow in an embarrassing fall that earned Brooks a flagrant 2-foul and a one-game suspension.
The sold-out crowd at the Chase Center booed him loudly again at every opportunity. When Payton appeared on the big screen during the first-quarter timeout, he was greeted with applause and stroked his heart before encouraging them to get louder.
Memphis again missed All-Star guard Ja Morant, who missed his third straight game with his troublesome right knee contusion, which the Grizzlies blamed on Jordan Poole straining his knee while grabbing the ball in Game 3 .
“Jia is one of the best point guards in the league, so you guys know that’s obviously going to change,” Brooks said. “But we made do with what we had.”
Thompson went 11 of 22, 8 of 14 and made eight 3-pointers in his fourth career playoff game, tied with Ray Allen, Curry and Damian Lillard for the most in NBA history player.
“We took a two-year hiatus from the playoffs, mostly because of his absence,” Green said.
Grizzlies: Brooks scored three points and finished one in an automatic suspension. … Memphis missed its final 10 shots in the second quarter. … The Grizzlies had a 55-37 rebounding advantage in Game 5.
Warriors: Curry went 6 for 17. … Looney’s 11 rebounds in the first quarter were a career high in any quarter. … F Otto Porter Jr. was out with a sore right foot. … Veteran Andre Iguodala remains sidelined with a left cervical disc injury and is scheduled to be re-evaluated again late next week.
Friday the 13th
The Warriors played the playoffs on Friday the 13th for the second time in franchise history, prior to a 100-86 victory over the Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals on April 13, 1973. The Deer, 4-2, won the series, according to Elias.
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