Stephen Curry converted eight free throws over the final 45.7 seconds on the way to 32 points, leading the Golden State Warriors’ fourth-quarter comeback for a 101-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night and a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
Curry also dished out eight assists and grabbed five rebounds as Golden State rallied to win without coach Steve Kerr after he tested positive for COVID-19 less than two hours before tipoff.
Curry took charge just like he has so many times on the playoff stage and now his Warriors are one win from a trip to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2019. He tied it at 90 on a fall-away baseline jumper with 3:25 to go and his two free throws with 45.7 seconds to go gave the Warriors a 94-93 lead, their first of the night.
Tyus Jones had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as Memphis missed injured All-Star Ja Morant. Dillon Brooks returned from a one-game suspension and struggled mightily, missing a 3-point try with 53 seconds left and finishing 5 for 19 with 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Andrew Wiggins had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Klay Thompson scored 14 points despite missing all seven of his 3-point attempts for the cold-shooting Warriors, who didn’t have to contend with do-everything Morant this time. The Grizzlies guard missed the game with soreness in his right knee after Jordan Poole grabbed him while going for a loose ball late in Game 3 — leading Morant and Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins to question Poole’s intentions.
It remained unclear whether Morant would be back for Game 5 on Wednesday in Memphis.
Brooks sat out Game 3 as a penalty by the league for his Flagrant 2 foul that injured Gary Payton II in Game 2, when Brooks hit the Golden State guard over the head on a driving layup attempt and Payton fell hard and broke his left elbow. Kerr called it a “dirty” play and said Brooks had broken an NBA code of conduct.
Brooks was booed nearly every time he touched the ball, fouled or when he checked back into the game.
Golden State trailed 69-62 going into the fourth quarter after Desmond Bane’s 32-foot 3-pointer beat the third-quarter buzzer. However, both teams struggled all night to make their 3s.
Kerr was replaced by associate head coach Mike Brown, who agreed Sunday to become the Sacramento Kings new coach after this postseason run.
Poole scored 14 off the bench for the Warriors as they survived a nail-biter following a postseason-record point total in Saturday’s 142-112 Game 3 blowout.
Curry sported special edition pair of orange Curry 9 Flow sneakers with colourful decorations to honour the late TNT broadcaster Craig Sager and his impact on the NBA.
Curry will autograph the shoes for auction on Wednesday on the NBA auction website with all proceeds going to the SagerStrong Foundation. The two-time MVP changed to lavender-coloured sneakers in the second half.
Grizzlies: C Steven Adams, who returned from the health and safety protocols to play six minutes in the waning moments of Saturday’s blowout, started and contributed 10 points and 15 rebounds as Memphis did a better job staying with the Warriors on the boards — outrebounded 54-48. … The Grizzlies were 9 of 35 on 3s.
Warriors: The Warriors committed 11 first-half turnovers and 16 total. … Golden State started 0 for 15 from deep before Otto Porter Jr. connected 3:24 before halftime. Thompson missed all seven of his 3s and Curry his initial five before becoming the first player in NBA history to make 500 postseason 3-pointers when he connected 46.2 seconds before halftime. … The Warriors were the first team to go 0 of 15 from long range to start a game since the 2011 Thunder were 0 for 16 against Dallas in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, according to Elias. … The Warriors had no immediate additional positive COVID tests, the team said.