Stephen Curry had a game-high 32 points, including two key free throws with 45.7 seconds remaining, and the host Golden State Warriors held on to beat the Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies 101-98 for a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal playoff series Monday night.
Despite having coach Steve Kerr on the sidelines due to a positive COVID test, the Warriors were able to overcome 9-for-37 shooting on 3-pointers to move within one game of their sixth trip to the Western Finals in the last eight seasons.
Warriors assistant Mike Brown, named earlier in the day as the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings, replaced Kerr at the front of the bench.
With Morant unable to play because of a right knee injury sustained in the fourth quarter of Game 3, the Grizzlies stunned the Warriors with a 15-8 start and led by as many as 12 early on.
Memphis, in fact, never trailed until the final minute.
After Curry had drawn the Warriors even on a jumper with 3:25 remaining, the Grizzlies went back up 93-90 on a Jaren Jackson Jr. interior hoop and Kyle Anderson free throw with 2:32 to go.
Neither team scored again until Jordan Poole hit two free throws with 1:11 remaining to make it a one-point game, setting the stage for a Curry parade to the foul line.
After Dillon Brooks misfired on a 3-point attempt, Curry drew a foul on a drive to the hoop and hit his go-ahead free throws with 45.7 seconds left.
Jackson missed on a short floating attempt to regain the lead for Memphis, and when Curry was fouled on the rebound, he dropped in two more free throws to extend the margin to three.
Curry capped his 32-point performance with four subsequent free throws and Andrew Wiggins hit one, allowing the Warriors to survive a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Brooks.
Curry’s game-high point total came despite 4-for-14 shooting on 3-pointers. Klay Thompson went 0-for-7 from deep on a 14-point night, while Poole was 0-for-3 from long range en route to 14 points.
Wiggins finished with 17 points and Otto Porter Jr. 12 — all on 3-pointers — for the Warriors, who shot just 40 percent overall. Wiggins completed a double-double with 10 rebounds, while Draymond Green grabbed a team-high 11 boards to complement five assists and two points.
Jackson paced the Grizzlies with 21 points, while Tyus Jones, starting in place of Morant, contributed 19 points, six rebounds and five assists to the losing cause.
Coming back from a one-game suspension, Brooks had 12 points and a game-high-tying eight assists, while Kyle Anderson put up 17 points and Steven Adams registered a 10-point, 15-rebound double-double.
The Grizzlies hit just nine of their 35 3-point attempts, with Jones’ 3-for-7 effort leading the way.
–Field Level Media