Just under six years ago, against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a legend was born.
Klay Thompson set a record 11 three-pointers in a series-tying 108-101 win over the Thunder – and with that came the start of ‘Game 6 Klay’.
That when the Warriors needed him most in the playoff series, Thompson would step up and perform.
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So, of course, the Golden State marksman came again for the Warriors in a 110-96 win to close out the series against a resilient Memphis Grizzlies side.
The Warriors now face either the Phoenix Suns or the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.
Thompson finished the game with 30 points, while Steph Curry had 29 points with some crucial late 3-pointers to help the Warriors home.
Kevon Looney and Draymond Green destroyed the Grizzlies on the boards, together for 38 rebounds – six less than the entire Memphis lineup.
Memphis would have done well to force Game 6 without Ja Morant, taking a dominant 134-95 win. But that win came home and this time the Grizzlies had to travel to Chase Center.
However, the Warriors were not without injuries, missing Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala and Gary Paton III.
It meant the Grizzlies had more than a chance to force Game 7, trailing only 30-26 after the first quarter, despite an early statement from Thompson.
He had 11 points at the time, while Looney already had 11 rebounds for the Warriors.
However, sales proved a problem for Golden State, with six in the first quarter, while Dillon Brooks (12 points) kept Memphis in the lead.
Thompson (17) and Brooks (18) remained the top scorers at halftime, as the Warriors led 53-51, while Green had a handy eight points left with just as many rebounds.
The biggest challenge for Golden State, however, remained limiting turnovers, after 8-0, 7-0 and 12-0 runs in the first half as Memphis kept in touch.
“We have to slow down. The back door isn’t open… we have to be patient,” Acting Warriors head coach Mike Brown said of the turnover.
The Warriors still had a slim lead of 77-76 after the third quarter, with Thompson and Green (37 points) nearly surpassing the rest of the Golden State lineup (41 points) at that point.
Even Curry struggled to get out of the deep end and it wasn’t just him, with Golden State going 7-for-13 from 3-point country in the first quarter to 8-for-32 since then.
With seven minutes to go in the final quarter, a jump shot from Desmond Bane put the Grizzlies ahead, putting the Warriors even more in the spotlight.
Thompson and Green had done their best, Curry was struggling…so who would provide the last spark?
Well, Andrew Wiggins answered that call with a 3-point jumper and dunk in the space of 20 seconds before Curry launched from 3-point land to extend the Golden State lead to 95-89.
From that point on, the Warriors were unstoppable, and Curry also began to find his rhythm, hitting a 31-foot three-pointer as Golden State pushed further forward.
Even with Curry missing, Thompson then stepped up to make a 28-foot jump from 3-point land as offensive rebounds continued to kill the Grizzlies.
From there it was all over, with Memphis getting out of the playoffs.
BUCKS BLOW GIANNIS’ BIG NIGHT AS TATUM BURSTS OUT
Celtics star Jayson Tatum has broken out to force Game 7 into the conference semifinal against the Bucks.
Boston took a 108-95 win at the Fiserv Forum, beating Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee.
In 43 minutes on the field, Tatum scored a whopping 46 points, shooting 53 percent of the field and 47 percent of range.
The 24-year-old attacker also recorded 9 rebounds and four assists, while guard Jaylen Brown contributed 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Tatum took 11 straight Boston points in the fourth quarter to help thwart a Bucks rally, which narrowed a 13-point deficit to four on Antetokounmpo’s three-pointer early in the final period.
For a while, it looked as though the Bucks would record another impressive comeback win after they cleared a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win Game 5.
But Tatum and the rest of the Celtics didn’t let that happen.
“I think we played this game with a little more power,” Tatum said.
“Our season was at stake. I knew that and we knew that. We had to give everything we have.”
For the Bucks, Giannis had a huge game, but was overshadowed by Tatum’s brilliance.
The ‘Greek freak’ scored a ridiculous 44 points with 20 rebounds and six assists.
Antetokoumpo posted the first game of 40 points and 20 rebounds since Shaquille O’Neal in 2001, but his third outburst of 40 points in four games wasn’t enough for the reigning champion.
They will have to compete for a place in the Eastern Conference finals in Boston on Monday [AEST] — the same day the team defeated Milwaukee in last season’s championship series, the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks play in Game 7 of their Western Conference series.
Jrue Holiday scored 17 for Milwaukee, who is without three-time All-Star forward Khris Middleton, who has missed nine games with a sprained left knee.
NBA pundits and fans took to Twitter to praise Tatum’s ridiculous performance.
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