Just one more team stands between the Warriors and the NBA Finals.
For the first time in 39 years, the Warriors are heading to the Western Conference Finals, led by NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
Curry scored 32 points to go with 10 assists, eliminating the Grizzlies 108-95 in a wire-to-wire victory, sealing the best-of-seven series for the Warriors 4-2.
Multiple Warriors made key contributions Friday night. Andre Iguodala hit important shots, Festus Ezeli gave a stellar two and a half minutes, and Shaun Livingston‘s length caused problems for Memphis. But it was Curry who crushed the Grizzlies.
The Warriors play their best when everyone is contributing, hitting, defending; but when the leading man is aggressive and takes the reins, everything else falls into place.
Following Game 5, Curry noted he still has room to improve when it comes to setting the tone of a game. In the waning minutes of the third quarter in Game 6, Curry offered a glimpse at his potential.
Curry dished to Iguodala for a three, validating an Ezeli screen and the sly, sliding move of Iguodala. Without Curry’s vision, feel and on-target pass, all would have been for naught.
On the other end, Curry reached for a ball falling out of bounds and stumbled but found his footing and recovered to take the ball to the other end. He again waited for the perfect moment to dish to a wide-open Ezeli for a dunk.
Ezeli isn’t open on that play unless the defense is terrified of what Curry can do.
Recognizing the hot hand, Curry made another flashy pass to Iguodala for another trey. But it was the final play of the third quarter that silenced the Memphis crowd and foreshadowed the final 12 minutes of the Grizzlies’ season.
Curry snared the bouncing ball after a Jeff Green three-pointer was blocked by Iguodala, and with beautiful form and follow-through, sank a 62-foot shot at the buzzer destined for net from the moment it left his hand.
There’s no way to defend that. Memphis had already given everything they had to give, there was nothing the Grizzlies could do. As was the rest of the game. As was the series.
Following unselfish and smart basketball, Curry was not concerned with his shooting percentage but instead concerned with giving the Warriors the best chance at winning. He did what he’s done all season, he led by example — make the simple play, leave everything on the court.
On to the next one. The Warriors will play either the Clippers or Rockets (to be decided Sunday) on Tuesday at Oracle Arena with tip off scheduled for 6 p.m. for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.