Draymond Green handed the ball off to Klay Thompson and immediately set a screen on the Splash Brother’s defender. Thompson dribbled once around the screen before jumping off his left foot and launching the unorthodox 3-pointer from straight away as he drifted to his left. The shot swished through the net, sending the Chase Center crowd into a frenzy.
It was that kind of night for the Warriors, who took a 2-1 series lead with Saturday’s 142-112 win over the Grizzlies at Chase Center.
The Warriors shot better than 70 percent from the floor in the first half and we’re at 65 percent through three quarters before ultimately finishing at 63.1 percent for the game, including 17-for-32 on 3-pointers.
|Curry – 30||Thompson – 9||Green – 8|
|Poole – 27||Green – 5||Curry – 6|
|Thompson – 21||Porter/Poole – 4||Lee/Thompson – 4|
|Morant – 34||Williams – 4||Morant – 7|
|Bane – 16||Melton – 4||Melton – 3|
|Jackson – 15||4 Tied – 3||Jackson – 3|
Stephen Curry made all 14 of his free throw attempts and led the way with 30 points and six assists, but his shooting percentage of 50 percent was the worst among the Warriors’ starting five. Jordan Poole scored 27 points off the bench and Klay Thompson bounced back from his rough shooting performance in Memphis with a very efficient 21 points on 13 shots.
FLIRTING WITH HISTORY
The Warriors shot 53-for-84 for the game, and the .631 shooting percentage was tied for the 12th highest in NBA history. Phoenix shot 64.5 percent from the floor in Wednesday’s win over Dallas, and before that, the last team to shoot a higher percentage than the Warriors on Saturday was … the Warriors in on April 23, 2013, in Denver (64.6 percent). In addition, the Warriors’ 142 points were the second most they’ve ever had in a playoff game, behind only the 143 they scored in a Game 2 win over the St. Louis Hawks in the 1967 Western Division Finals.
“Tonight, we found great shots,” said Draymond Green, who finished with five points and a game-high eight assists. “We didn’t just settle for good shots, we found great shots and they went in.”
WEATHERING THE STORM
Although the Warriors had it clicking, it didn’t start out the way. With three full days off between games, the Warriors missed three of their first four shot attempts and struggled early with turnovers. On the other side, Memphis came out on fire from the perimeter. Four Grizzlies players combined to make six of their first eight 3-point attempts, helping the Grizzlies jump out to a 13-point advantage in the first period.
But the Warriors would soon find a rythem offensively, and they spent the remainder of the quarter chipping away at the deficit. By the time the first quarter had ended, the Dubs were within two points after Stephen Curry capped a 15-5 quarter-closing run with a 3-pointer in the final second of the period.
That run to end the first quarter stretched into a 25-7 spurt in the second period. The Warriors took the lead for good during that run, and Otto Porter Jr. had his fingerprints all over that game-changing sequence, making hustle plays and knocking down 3-point shots. Porter finished with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting, and his three made 3-pointers were the most he’s had since Jan. 23. Porter started the second half, and he wound up being a plus-30 in his 24 minutes of game action.
BREAKING THE GAME OPEN
The Warriors took a seven-point lead into halftime and broke the game open with a 10-0 burst to open the third period. Thompson didn’t attempt a three in the first half but knocked down three of them in the third period, including that one-footer shown above. Curry had 10 of his 30 points in the third quarter, and Poole added cushion to the Warriors’ advantage by scoring 18 of his 27 points in the second half.
One of the storylines heading into this game was who would start in place of Gary Payton II, who suffered a fractured elbow in the opening minutes of Game 2 on Tuesday in Memphis. Nineteen-year-old rookie Jonathan Kuminga got the first five call for the Dubs, making him the youngest player to start a playoff game since the NBA began tracking player ages in 1971. Kuminga scored the first four points for the Warriors, with both shots coming at the rim, and he used a strong fourth quarter to finish with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
MORANT LEAVES GAME WITH RIGHT KNEE INJURY
Memphis guard Ja Morant had a game-high 34 points and seven assists before exiting the game in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury. The severity of the injury and Morant’s status moving forward will certainly be something to follow in the days ahead, as he has averaged 38.3 points over the first three games of the series.
GAME 4 ON MONDAY
The Warriors are now 4-0 at Chase Center this postseason, and they’ll look to remain undefeated at home when the series continues with Game 4 on Monday night.