Warriors vs. Grizzlies score, takeaways: Klay Thompson erupts for 30 points, leads Golden State to Game 6 win
The Golden State Warriors are headed to the Western Conference finals after closing out the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 in Game 6 on Friday night. It was a closely contested game for the majority of the night, with the Grizzlies showing tremendous fight without star guard Ja Morant in the lineup. But in the end, experience won out, as the Warriors went on a scoring spree in the final five minutes to end Memphis’ season and get back to the conference finals for the first time since 2019.
The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson who poured in 30 points, while Stephen Curry got going late and finished the night with 29 points. On the other end, Dillon Brooks did everything he could to try and force a Game 7, dropping 30 points, while Desmond Bane added 25 points of his own. With the win, the Warriors will face the winner of the series between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, which will be decided in a Game 7 on Sunday night. Once the matchup is set, the Western Conference finals will start on May 18.
Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s series-clinching win against the Grizzlies Friday night.
1. Death, taxes and Game 6 Klay
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, then perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the legend that is Game 6 Klay, where he has a tendency to go absolutely bonkers in the playoffs in Game sixes. It all started during the 2015-16 playoffs, where the Warriors were down 3-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. Golden State was facing elimination, and Thompson stepped up to the occasion and erupted for 41 points in the win. The Warriors went on to win the championship that season, and thus Game 6 Klay was born.
I’m not sure why Thompson always seems to find a way to go off in a Game 6, but Friday night against the Grizzlies was no different. Thompson finished with 30 points on a cool 8-of-14 from 3-point territory.
Thompson’s first-half performance, where he racked up 17 points heading into halftime was a major reason why the Warriors even held a slim lead after the first two quarters. He was on fire from the opening tip, racking up 11 points through the first 12 minutes of the game and never slowed down. It’s crazy to think that even after two whole years away from the game after suffering devastating injuries that you can still bet on Thompson to deliver a standout performance in a Game 6.
2. It wasn’t pretty, but the Warriors got the job done
Golden State entered this game as eight-point favorites over the Grizzlies, which wasn’t surprising given Ja Morant has been sidelined since Game 4. But while the Warriors covered the spread, the final score wasn’t exactly indicative of how Golden State played for a majority of the game. For about 43 minutes of the game, the Warriors put together an incredibly sloppy performance. They ended the game by committing 17 turnovers, most of which were just flat-out careless possessions. At one point in the third quarter, Golden State turned the ball over on three-straight possessions as the Warriors kept trying to go for the home-run play in transition, but it just resulted in errant passes.
But with a little under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Warriors finally started to come alive on offense and stopped playing with their food. They continued to be disruptive on defense, stopped turning the ball over and instead were converting a lot of those transition opportunities they were getting. Andrew Wiggins came up big in the fourth quarter, as he got 10 of his 18 points in the final frame of action. He was knocking down high-pressure 3s and was aggressive on defense to get deflections and a steal which led to a breakaway dunk. His aggressive play sort of jumpstarted Golden State’s dominance down the stretch. But if Wiggins got things started in the fourth quarter, Curry finished it off, knocking down two 3s to extend the lead to double digits for the Warriors, and Golden State coasted from there.
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3. A round of applause for the Grizzlies
If anyone tells you that they expected Memphis to finish as the No. 2 seed in the West and advance past the first round of the playoffs, they’re lying. Despite the outcome of the season, the Grizzlies have a lot to be proud of especially over the last two games of this series against the Warriors. Once Morant went down with a knee injury the Grizzlies were completely written off. But Memphis responded incredibly well in Game 5 which resulted in a blowout win against Golden State, and even in Friday night’s game, they were right in it until the final five minutes of the game.
That’s a credit to the tremendous roster building that’s happened in Memphis over the past few years. While Morant gets a bulk of the attention — and for good reason! — the last two games of this series showed that the Grizzlies are far more than Morant and some decent role players. Guys like Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks all stepped up on a number of occasions to help carry the weight on both ends of the floor. What’s even scarier is the fact that Memphis is an incredibly young squad with a really high ceiling so they’ll be around in the playoffs for years to come if the Grizzlies can keep this core intact. We’ll see this team again — with a healthy Morant — and next time they’ll have the postseason experience to match up against some of these veteran teams.