And just like that, the Golden State Warriors are back in the Western Conference Finals for the sixth time in eight years.
It wasn’t pretty. It was often ugly. But the Dubs closed the door with emphasis anyway, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 in Game 6 to move on.
Turnovers will give the coaching staff nightmares, but for now we celebrate Klay’s Game 6, Kevon Looney’s heroism and Andrew Wiggins’ brilliance.
And we rate the players, taking into account our expectations of each one.
Note: The league average true shot percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%
39 minutes, 14 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 6 for 14 shots, 0 for 3 threes, 2 for 2 free throws, 47.0% TS, +19
It wasn’t an efficient scoring performance, but it’s still nice to see Green score in double figures. Everything seems to work best when he’s ready to shoot and when he’s ready to attack.
The turnovers were abysmal – he felt like he had seven or eight. And the defense on the ball was not as good as we expected. But Dray is still one of the best players alive and deserves huge props for his rebounding outing.
Post-match bonus: Led the team in assists.
41 minutes, 18 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 2 fouls, 2 turnovers, 7 for 16 shots, 3 for 5 3, 1 for 2 free throws, 53.3% TS, +20
Like so many Warriors, it was not a good first half for Wiggins. But the second half was one of the best basketball games he had ever played.
He hit many big shots and had a series of possessions where he took the ball.
His defense was phenomenal and he was all over the glass. If there were only second half ratings, he would be an easy A+.
However, as it is…
Post-match bonus: Led the team more/less.
35 minutes, 4 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, shooting 2 for 7, 28.6% TS, +10
Before we congratulate Looney on his outstanding performances, we have to congratulate Green and Steph Curry for calling out the coaching staff’s bizarre insistence on throwing players they don’t really want to play, like they did with Jonathan Kuminga. in games 4 and 5.
Steven Adams led the Grizzlies with 10 rebounds. Looney was 11 offensive bounces. He was an animal, and the main reason the Dubs had 70 (70!!!) rebounds in that game.
Looney was a force. And even though his score wasn’t strong, he did a lot to facilitate the attack. Considering his role changed from night to night, we can’t say enough about the job he did, getting back into the starting lineup, playing 35 minutes and dominating the paint.
Post-match bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
40 minutes, 29 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 10 for 27 shots, 6 for 17 threes, 3 for 4 free throws, 50.4% TS, +16
Curry was very kind to the Grizzlies after the game. He kissed Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks. He spoke enthusiastically to the media about Morant and the future of the organization. He said he appreciated their pettiness.
Steph Curry on Ja Morant: “That’s a problem.”
On the Grizzlies: “All the antics and pettiness and stuff, I love it.” pic.twitter.com/urHhqbLcy9
—Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 14, 2022
What he hasn’t said is how happy he’ll be to have them in the rearview mirror. Memphis is playing Curry better than any NBA team, and that was on display again on Friday. Curry just couldn’t start for three and a half quarters. When he finally found his shot, the buckets started to flow and he put the game away.
But it was not a very good match for him. You know, by its exorbitant standards. In the next round. I wouldn’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 for 22 shots, 8 for 14 threes, 68.2% TS, +14
I want to give Klay an A+ for his social media work done from the locker room post-game.
What an icon.
But the game also deserves an A+. Was this Klay’s best game, statistically speaking? Not even close. But when the Warriors turned the ball over like it was going out of style and getting boxed in by Memphis, Klay threw punches. And when they started to build a lead, Klay threw punches. And when they started to put the game away, Klay threw punches.
It was a game that required a hard, hard, DIFFICULT performance, and Klay delivered it.
Game 6 Klay forever.
Post-match bonus: Led the team in points.
8 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, 0 for 1 shot, 0 for 1 three, 0.0% TS, -2
Bjeli didn’t get much playing time, but I think he did pretty well. He crushed glass more than his numbers suggest and did some decent things on offense.
11 minutes, 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, shooting 1 for 2, 1 for 2 threes, 75.0% TS, -4
Lee was expected to play a role in this game with all the injuries the Dubs racked up. He was holding up, but didn’t look particularly good. He had a very bad turnover, but then again, who hasn’t?
Post-match bonus: The worst plus/minus of the team.
24 mins, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4-for-15, 2-for-11 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 36.8% TS, -3
Poole will also be very, very happy not to have to face the Grizzlies again until next season. He’s gotten a little locked up in this series, and Friday was no exception. He added chippiness, which was fun, but didn’t add much on the pitch.
Lots of missed buckets, a few bad shot decisions and not too much control.
Friday DNPs: Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Friday inactives: André Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., James Wiseman