With the stakes at their highest, Stephen Curry delivered.
Curry had 46 points (33 in the second half), nine assists and seven rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins chipped in with 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
With the victory, the Dubs clinch the No. 8 seed and will play the No. 7 seed in the first round of the play-in tournament on Wednesday.
It wasn’t an easy win by any means. Golden State held a 17-point lead going into the final quarter, but Memphis went on a furious 22-5 to open the fourth and pulled even.
The Grizzlies lost guard Dillon Brooks midway through the quarter. He fouled out with 6:12 remaining, and the Warriors took advantage. The Dubs held a three-point lead with just over three minutes left when Curry went off.
He hit three 3-pointers in 1:42 and helped push the lead back up to 12.
It was a scintillating performance by Curry, who clinched the NBA’s scoring title this season. When the Dubs were under pressure in the fourth, their leader came through and put the team on his back.
Kerr on Curry: "He's never been better. He's been great for a long time now. What's different this year is the supporting cast." Adds the Warriors a young team and Steph has been asked to do more. #DubNation— Jas Kang (@jaskang21) May 16, 2021
Wiggins, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole all stepped up and made huge plays as well.
“It’s just confidence, they’re going to play significant minutes,” Curry said about his teammates on ESPN following the game. “We’re running an eight-man rotation right now. When they’re out there, they have to be aggressive and have confidence.”
The Warriors allowed the Grizzlies to get back into the game because of turnovers. The Dubs turned the ball over 19 times which led to 24 points for Memphis. But the Warriors stuck with it and were able to put the game away with an 18-4 run to close out the game.
Head coach Steve Kerr was thrilled that his squad stuck with it despite losing the big lead.
“It was a great response to Memphis’ fourth-quarter run,” Kerr said following the game. “It was a fun one to finish out. Now we got to get back to work pretty soon.”
Memphis came out hot to start the game and held a 17-8 lead less than five minutes into the first quarter. But Golden State started to get going and got back into the game.
Curry and Draymond Green combined for eight points and helped the Dubs go on an 11-4 run to cut the deficit to two with just over three minutes left in the opening quarter. The Warriors closed the first on a strong note and held a 30-29 lead going into the second.
The second unit played well with Curry on the bench to start the second quarter. Jordan Poole helped Golden State go on a 10-2 run over the first four minutes of the period, and the Dubs stretched their lead to nine.
It remained close once Curry returned to the court. The Grizzlies went on a run to close the gap to one, but the Warriors were able to maintain a lead. Curry had 13 in the half, while Andrew Wiggins had 12 as Golden State shot 51.2 percent from the field and held a 55-49 lead at the break.
Memphis was able to get within four before the Warriors started to pull away. Curry and Wiggins combined to score the first 16 points of the quarter for the Dubs to push the lead up to 13.
Golden State took control of the game in the third. The Dubs moved the ball well and were able to suffocate the Grizzlies on the defensive end. Memphis had no answer for Curry in the third. He had 17 points in the period and helped the Warriors take a 86-69 lead going into the fourth.
The Dubs are playing their basketball of the season going into the play-in tournament. They have won six in a row and are playing well at both ends of the floor.
Golden State will play either the Los Angeles Lakers or Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday. The Lakers play the New Orleans Pelicans while the Trail Blazers will host the Nuggets on Sunday night.
If the Warriors win their next outing, they will be the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and take on the No. 2 seed in the opening round of the playoffs.