For the second Play-In game in a row, an opponent made a go-ahead 3-pointer to beat the shot clock buzzer in the final minutes and the Warriors were unable to answer. Only on Friday night, it resulted in a season-ending 117-112 overtime loss to the Grizzlies at Chase Center.
The Warriors played from behind for nearly the entire game, but battled back from 10 down in the closing minutes to force the extra period. The Grizzlies, not known to be a 3-point shooting team, made three treys in overtime, including a corner 3-pointer from center Xavier Tillman as the shot clock expired with 1:27 left. That shot gave Memphis the lead they would never lose, and the Dubs were unable to complete their comeback.
After ending the regular season with six straight wins to finish at 39-33, the Dubs lost two straight nail-biters in the Play-In Tournament. On Wednesday, the Lakers’ LeBron James made a deep go-ahead three as the shot clock expired in the final minute, and on Friday it was Tillman who knocked down the big shot. The two losses in the Play-In Tournament leave the Warriors on the outside looking in on the NBA Playoffs, while Memphis advances to take on the Jazz as the No. 8 seed, and the Lakers (No. 7) open the playoffs in Phoenix.
|Curry – 39||Green – 16||Green – 10|
|Wiggins – 22||Looney – 10||Curry – 5|
|Poole – 19||Toscano-Anderson – 7||2 Tied – 4|
|Morant – 35||Valanciunas – 12||Morant – 6|
|Brooks – 14||Anderson – 10||Anderson – 6|
|Allen – 12||Tillman – 7||2 Tied – 3|
The Grizzlies came out hot, making their first seven shot attempts to storm out to an early 13-pint advantage (22-9). But after some early turnover issues, the Warriors got momentum back on their side, and Stephen Curry was at the center of it.
One of three NBA MVP finalists as announced by the league on Thursday, Curry scored the first 10 points of a 13-2 Warriors run, including a four-point play that was soon followed by a deep splash from near the left hashmark. Poole completed the run with a 3-pointer of his own to give the Dubs a one-point advantage, but that lead was short-lived.
The Grizzlies responded with a strong finish to the opening quarter and they then opened the game up with a 14-2 run in the second quarter. Buoyed by hitting nine of their first 16 three-point attempts, Memphis led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter. The Grizzlies maintained that double-digit advantage through most of the third quarter, but the Dubs steadily chipped away to make it a five-point game heading into the fourth quarter.
All season long, Curry’s scheduled rest had him sitting on the bench to start the fourth quarter, but with the gravity of the game, Head Coach Steve Kerr left the two-time MVP on the floor to start the period. And Curry answered the call with some difficult makes, and his fifth 3-pointer of the game brought the Dubs back within one at the 9:12 mark.
But over three minutes went by before the Dubs would score again, and Memphis pushed their advantage back to double-digits before the Warriors rallied with a 12-2 run to end regulation, the last five points came by way of Poole and Curry free throws. Each team had a shot to go ahead in the final seconds of regulation, but neither team converted and the game went to the extra period.
Curry, who paced the Warriors with 39 points in 47 minutes of game action, gave the Warriors their first lead since the first quarter with a step-back jumper with 3:52 left in overtime, and the Warriors answered consecutive 3-pointers from Grayson Allen with splashes from Draymond Green, who had a triple-double (11 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and Poole to take a two-point advantage, matching their largest lead of the game.
But Tillman responded with the biggest shot of his career, and Ja Morant, who led six double-digit Grizzlies scorers with 35 points, made two clutch shots to keep the Dubs at distance.
After five straight trips to the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, a run that featured three NBA Championships, the Warriors miss out on the playoffs for the second straight season. They will look for bigger and better things, hopefully with a more healthy roster, when they take the court for the 2021-22 season.