It's hard to think of an opponent more terrifying than Stephen Curry in overtime with playoffs on the line, but the Memphis Grizzlies held firm. And now, they're in the playoffs.
In the final game of the NBA play-in tournament, the Grizzlies defeated the Warriors 117-112 on Friday to continue their season. The win makes them the No. 8 seed in the West, with the top-seeded Utah Jazz awaiting them in the first round.
With two play-in losses, the first against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors' season is now over.
The Grizzlies' own star point guard led the way, as Ja Morant posted 35 points on 14-of-29 shooting to lead his team in scoring while chipping in six assists, six rebounds and four steals. The last two points were the most important:
Curry managed to score 39 points despite facing near-constant double teams, but his teammates just couldn't make the Grizzlies pay enough in the other parts of the court. Outside of Curry, the team shot 5-of-18 from 3-point range.
Grizzlies held off multiple Warriors comebacks
The Grizzlies got off to a hot start to open the game, building up an 18-6 lead. Curry responded with a show of force, erasing the lead by the end of the first quarter. The Grizzlies shook that off in the second, though, leading by as much as 17 points and entering halftime with a 62-49 lead.
Even though 13 points sounds like a strong lead at halftime, it isn't when it comes to the Warriors under Curry. The Ringer's Zach Kram noted that Curry had trailed by at least 10 points in five career home playoff games. He won four of them, though the lone loss came against Memphis in 2015.
Soon enough, the Warriors whittled that lead down to five points by the end of the third quarter. The lead was down to one three minutes into the fourth, with Curry doing stuff like this:
Once again, the Grizzlies punched back. They scored seven straight points to grab another big lead, but the Warriors again responded with a 12-2 run to even the score at 97-97 with a minute left. Soon, overtime was afoot, and Memphis ground out yet another win.
Disappointing finish for the Warriors
Under the NBA's rules of two years ago, the Warriors would be preparing for the Jazz right now.
The team finished with the eighth-best record in the West at 39-33, but the new play-in format required them to beat the Lakers then the Grizzlies to actually make it to the playoffs. Despite getting vintage Curry in both play-in games, the Warriors supporting cast fell short.
Now three seasons removed from their last NBA championship, the Warriors will again enter the offseason trying to figure out how to re-enter the league's elite. Getting a healthy Klay Thompson back would be a good start, but the shooting guard's effectiveness is no guarantee after two years away from the court.
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