SAN FRANCISCO — — This kind of playoff triumph is three years in the making for Klay Thompson, who endured countless hours of rehab and heartbreak to get to this point again.
And after another spectacular shooting performance on the big stage, Coach Mike Brown just wanted to offer him a congratulatory hug.
Instead, Thompson told Brown how much he’ll miss him next season when Brown takes over the Sacramento Kings, but they still have a lot of basketball left together.
Thompson hit eight 3-pointers en route to 30 points, Stephen Curry had 29 with six 3-pointers and the Warriors eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies with a 110-96 victory in Game 6 on Friday night.
Next up is a trip to the Western Conference finals, and coach Steve Kerr should be healthy after his bout with COVID-19.
“Honestly, especially the perspective I got from the injuries I’ve had, now being able to compete at the highest level and being one of the last four teams, it’s a feeling that’s hard to honestly describe,” Thompson said. It’s really amazing and it inspires me to keep going because I think we still have great basketball ahead of us.”
Curry found his shooting bunt late and made two straight baskets for a 78-77 lead before the final 12 minutes. Draymond Green had 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Kevon Looney returned to the starting lineup and grabbed 22 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 points in the quarter with a pair of well-timed 3-pointers.
It was Curry and Green who pushed for Looney to start after the Warriors discussed it on the flight home from Memphis after Wednesday’s embarrassing loss.
Golden State, sent home by Memphis in last year’s play-in tournament, weathered a tough series to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached its fifth straight NBA Finals before losing. against Toronto.
The third-seeded Warriors will face the winner of Phoenix-Dallas in the conference finals. Game 7 of that series is Sunday at Phoenix.
Thompson has shined again in the playoffs after missing 2 1/2 years with a couple of serious injuries, first recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee and then surgery for a torn tendon. right Achilles.
That’s Klay. He expects to go out there and play really well,” Brown said. “We expect him to come out and play very well.”
“What a trick!” the delighted and raucous home crowd sang along in the final moments, the robbery of the Memphis fans.
“It was good to see the fans embrace that,” Green said.
Dillon Brooks had a career-high 30 points on seven 3-pointers, but he committed his second flagrant foul of the series. Desmond Bane added 25.
Curry checked back in for the final 8:21 and delivered a 3 with 5:45 remaining on a beautiful bounce pass from Green. Looney found Green for an easy dunk the next time, capping a decisive 10-0 run.
Brooks viewed the challenge of facing the Splash Brothers as something that will only make Memphis better.
“They know we are going to come every year,” he said. “We’re young, they’re getting older, so they know we’re coming every year.”
After Wednesday’s 134-95 debacle at home to the Grizzlies in which they trailed by 55 points, the Warriors were determined to make it all better, especially reducing the 22 turnovers that led to 29 points.
The Warriors outrebounded the Grizzlies 70-44, becoming the first team to grab 70 rebounds in a playoff game since San Antonio had 75 against Denver on May 4, 1983.
Bane made the first two baskets of the game before the Warriors had 10 straight points, with a pair of layups by Green and a 3-pointer by Curry and Thompson.
Looney started after Jonathan Kuminga had the previous three games following the injury of guard Gary Payton II. He broke his left elbow in an awkward fall after Brooks hit him in the head in Game 2, earning Brooks a Flagrant 2 foul and a one-game suspension.
He was booed loudly again each time by the packed crowd at Chase Center. When Payton was shown on the big screen during a timeout in the first quarter, he received a standing ovation and put his hand to his heart before encouraging them to shout more.
Memphis again played without All-Star guard Ja Morant, who missed his third straight game with a bruise on his troublesome right knee that the Grizzlies blamed on Jordan Poole pulling on the knee while searching for a fumble in Game 3.
“Ja is one of the best point guards in this league, so you know obviously he would trade,” Brooks said. “But we made do with what we had.”
THE THOMPSON TOUCH
Thompson shot 11-for-22, 8-for-14 from long range, and made his fourth career postseason game with eight 3-pointers to tie Ray Allen, Curry and Damian Lillard for the most in NBA history.
“We took a two-year hiatus from the playoffs and mostly because of his absence,” Green said.
Grizzlies: Brooks had three flagrant points and finished one off an automatic one-game suspension. … Memphis missed its last 10 shots of the second quarter. … The Grizzlies held a 55-37 rebounding advantage in Game 5.
Warriors: Curry was 6-for-17 from deep. … Looney’s 11 rebounds in the first quarter were a career high for any quarter. … F Otto Porter Jr. was out with a sore right foot. … Veteran Andre Iguodala, still sidelined with a left cervical disc injury, is scheduled to be re-evaluated again next week.
FRIDAY THE 13TH
The Warriors had a playoff game on Friday the 13th for the second time in franchise history, previously when they beat the Bucks 100-86 on April 13, 1973, in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals to win the series 4-2. according to Elijah.