And with that, the Golden State Warriors are back in the Western Conference Finals for the sixth time in eight years.
It was not nice. It was often ugly. But the Dubs still closed the door with vigor, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 in Game 6 to move on.
Turnovers will give the coaching staff nightmares, but now we’re celebrating Game 6 of Klay, the exploits of Kevon Looney and some brilliance from Andrew Wiggins.
And we rank and weight players according to our expectations of each one.
Note: The league average true shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%.
39 mins, 14 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 6 on 14 shooting, 0 on 3 trebles, 2 on 2 free throws, 47.0% TS, +19
It wasn’t an efficient scoring effort but it’s still nice to see Green score in double digits. Everything seems to work better when he’s ready to shoot and when he’s ready to attack.
The turnovers were terrible – it felt like he had seven or eight. And the defense on the ball wasn’t quite as good as we’d expect. But Dray is still one of the best players alive and deserves big props for his rebound performance.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in assists.
41 minutes, 18 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 2 fouls, 2 turnovers, 7-on-16 shooting, 3-on-5 three-pointers, 1-on-2 free throws, 53.3% TS , +20
Like so many Warriors, it wasn’t a good first half for Wiggins. But the second half was some of the best basketball he’s ever played.
He hit numerous big shots and had a number of possessions where he took over the ball.
His defense was phenomenal and he was all over the glass. If those were just notes in the second half, it would be an easy A.
However, as it is…
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
35 minutes, 4 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 2-for-7 shooting, 28.6% TS, +10
Before we commend Looney for his outstanding performance, we have to commend Green and Steph Curry for speaking out against the coaching staff’s bizarre insistence on starting players they don’t actually want to play, like they did with Jonathan Kuminga in the games 4 and 5 have done.
Steven Adams led the Grizzlies in 10 rebounds. Looney had 11 offensive bounces off He was a beast and the main reason the dubs had 70 (70!!!) rebounds in that game.
Looney was a force. And while his goal wasn’t strong, he did a lot to ease the offense. Given that his role has changed night to night, we can’t say enough about the job he put in as he returned to the starting lineup, played 35 minutes and dominated the colour.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
40 mins, 29 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 10 on 27 shooting, 6 on 17 trebles, 3 on 4 free throws, 50.4% TS, +16
Curry was very sweet for the Grizzlies after the game. He hugged Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks. He spoke glowingly to the media about Morant and the future of the organization. He said he enjoyed their pettiness.
Steph Curry on Ja Morant: ‘He’s a problem’
About the Grizzlies: “All the antics and the pettiness and all that, I love it.” pic.twitter.com/urHhqbLcy9
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 14, 2022
What he didn’t say is how lucky he’ll be to have her in the rearview mirror. Memphis plays Curry better than any other team in the NBA, and it showed again on Friday. Curry just couldn’t make it work for three and a half quarters. When he finally found his shot, the buckets began to flow and he tucked the game away.
But it wasn’t a very good game for him. You know, by his sky-high standards. To the next round. I don’t want to be the guy defending him in the conference finals.
42 minutes, 30 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 11 on 22 shooting, 8 on 14 threes, 68.2% TS, +14
I want to give Klay an A+ for the social media work he did in the dressing room after the game.
What an icon.
But the game also deserves an A+. Was it Klay’s biggest game statistically? Not even close. But when the Warriors flipped the ball like it was going out of style and were boxed in by Memphis, Klay slammed into shots. And as they started to build a lead, Klay tapped into shots. And when they started putting the game down, Klay rapped in shots.
It was a game that had a hard, hard, HARD power, and Klay delivered it.
Play 6 Klay forever.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team on points.
8 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, 0-1 shooting, 0-1 trebles, 0.0% TS, -2
Bjeli didn’t get much playing time, but I thought he did pretty well. He’s shattered the glass more than his numbers suggest and done decent things on offense.
11 mins, 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 1-on-2 shooting, 1-on-2 three-pointers, 75.0% TS, -4
Lee had to have a part in that game with all the injuries the dubs have racked up. He held up, but didn’t look particularly good. He had a very poor turnover, but then again, who didn’t?
Post-Game Bonus: Worst plus/minus in the team.
24 mins, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 on 15 shooting, 2 on 11 trebles, 2 on 3 free throws, 36.8% TS, -3
Poole will also be very, very lucky not to have to face the Grizzlies again until next season. He’s been locked down a bit this series, and Friday was no exception. He added to the chippiness, which was fun but didn’t add much on the court.
Lots of missed buckets, a few bad shooting decisions and not too much control.
Friday’s DNPs: Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Inactive on Friday: Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., James Wiseman