Curry leads Warriors past Grizz, into West finals

Memphis, TN ( - As the Memphis crowd groaned over a non- call, Stephen Curry let one fly from three-quarter court.


The momentum from Curry's 62-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter carried into the fourth, where the Golden State Warriors put the Grizzlies away to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 39 years.

Curry made eight 3-pointers, finishing with 32 points and 10 assists as the Warriors defeated the Grizzlies 108-95 in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal.

"This is all new ground," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said of being in the conference finals. "This is a testament for all the work that's been put in the last three to four years."

The first-year coach Kerr took over for Mark Jackson, who led Golden State to playoff appearances in two of his three years as the headman, but never got past the conference semis.

"I jumped on board this year and the train was already rolling," Kerr said.

The Warriors hope to keep that train rolling all the way to the finish line.

Jeff Green attempted to beat the third-quarter horn by pulling up from the top of the arc, but Andre Iguodala blocked the 3-point shot. Everybody on the court stopped playing except for Curry, whose fling hit nothing but net.

"The ball squirts free and I grabbed it ... It looked good the whole way," Curry said of the heave.

His shot jumpstarted a 10-0 run, which helped open up a 15-point advantage and the Warriors coasted the rest of the way to lock up their first appearance in the conference finals since 1976.

"It wasn't quite a close-out shot, but it was the play of the game," Kerr said.

Like Game 5, Golden State used its defense get easy 3-point looks and baskets in transition. It held a 22-5 margin in fastbreak points and knocked down 15- of-32 from beyond the arc.

The 67-win and top-seeded Warriors will face either the second-seeded Houston Rockets or third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the conference finals. The Clippers and Rockets will do battle in Game 7 of their semifinal in Houston on Sunday.

The Warriors shot 45.6 percent (56-of-123) from long distance in their series wins, while tallying just a 23.1 percent clip (12-of-52) in the two losses. Curry was 22-of-43 on his 3-point tries in the victories and just 4-of-21 in the defeats.

"It was about which style won out," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said of the series.

Golden State led the NBA in scoring, while the Grizzlies were second in scoring defense.

Klay Thompson provided 20 points and eight rebounds, Draymond Green supplied 16 points and 12 boards and Harrison Barnes added 13 points for Golden State, which had lost its previous six series in the conference semis.

The Warriors raced out to a 32-19 first-quarter lead after knocking down 6- of-9 from beyond the arc in the frame, but made just one of their next 11 from 3-point range and Memphis whittled the deficit to one, 63-62, at the 3:55 mark of the third.

The Grizzlies, though, never got over the hump.

"We got off to a slow start," Joerger said. "They came out and made some tough shots."

Iguodala nailed a pair of triples shortly thereafter to push the advantage back to 73-66 and Curry's 62-footer was the backbreaker.

"It was a shot to the gut," Joerger said of Curry's shot.

Upcoming free agent Marc Gasol tallied 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen played just over five minutes after missing Game 5 due to a left hamstring injury.

Golden State missed all six of its shots from deep in the second, but maintained at least a nine-point cushion during the entire period. Courtney Lee's right-wing jumper banked in at the buzzer to get the Grizzlies within 58-49 at the break.

Gasol recorded a pair of baskets to begin the third, with his turnaround jumper trimming the gap to 58-53. A pair of Jeff Green foul shots capped an 9-2 spurt to claw Memphis within a point.

A pair of Shaun Livingston free throws finished off the Warriors' 10-0 swing, which staked them to an 83-68 advantage.

Game Notes

Golden State lost to the Phoenix Suns in a seven-game Western Conference final in 1976 ... Memphis shot just 37.4 percent (34-of-91) and was 4-of-16 on its 3-point tries ... The Grizzlies took 16 more foul shots than Golden State, finishing 23-of-30.