SAN FRANCISCO — With Golden State leading Memphis by just two points with just 1:44 remaining on Wednesday night, Stephen Curry clapped his hands with Jordan Poole after the incident that Curry declared was an unwise 3-point shot from the Warriors teammate.
As he ran back for defense, a furious Curry pulled out his mouthpiece and whipped it in the air. It bounced off the court, and crashed on the benches near the court to trigger an automatic expulsion.
“It was a crucial time in the game, and the way that our season has gone, questions about a heightened sense of urgency … when you want something really bad … I reacted in a way that put myself out of the game and put the team in a tough place,” Curry declared after the Warriors won a thrilling 122-120 win.
Curry was the third time he has been suspension, including playoffs. The three ejections all included his mouthpiece. At the end of Game 6, in 2016’s NBA Finals, Curry was dismissed for a similar incident when his mouthpiece smashed onto a spectator sitting on the courtside. In 2017, Curry was exiled for throwing his mouthguard at an official during an encounter with his team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Because his mouthpiece didn’t strike anyone on Wednesday, Curry said he thought that it shouldn’t have been an instant ejection. However, crew director Sean Wright confirmed the reasoning to a reporter for the pool: “Stephen Curry takes his mouthpiece and throws it into the stands using force, according to the rule and that’s an automatic expulsion.”
Curry completed the night with an all-time high 43 points, with shooting of 10-of-19 in the court, with 4 of 10 from three. Curry also scored the free throws.
With just 4:25 remaining in the game Curry cut his Warriors down to just four points after a leap of 26 feet and three points in front of Ja Morant. Just two minutes later, at 2:18 to go Curry ended the game on an impressive 2-pointer also against Morant.
The Warriors had a massive stop at the other end which was followed by the three Curry free shots. After a minute, Curry was ejected.
Even without their starplayer, the Warriors were able to dig deep enough to secure the victory.
“This is a big win for us for a multitude of reasons,” Draymond Green stated.
He went on to say: “I think there is always more focus in this game. I think [the Grizzlies] bring out a different competitive side in us and we do the same for them. Both teams rise up for this game, it’s a fun one to play every time.”
The game wasn’t pretty at all, not least for the first quarter. It was a mess for the Warriors made 11 mistakes and made 14 turnovers during the first half , which is the most turns they’ve had in any home game this season. In the meantime, the Grizzlies defense was sluggish shooting just 41.7 percent at the foul line, which included 25% on 3-of-16 shooting.
At the close of the second half, the tide began to change in both sides. In addition, there was some nerves. After the teams left the court to go to the halftime break, Curry, Klay Thompson and Poole made a jibe on Memphis teammates as they made their way towards the tunnel. In the third quarter, Green and Brandon Clarke received technical fouls.
This is the latest chapter in the Warriors their growing competition with Grizzlies. The two teams do not think they have achieved its full potential as a rivalry yet, but based on the playoff series in the last season, it definitely has the ingredients for a one-on-one rivalry.
The Grizzlies were able to tie the game at 6.1 seconds remaining on the dunk of Clarke. The next game the Warriors tried to get their ball back to Thompson who, only eight seconds earlier had smashed an impressive 28-foot 3-pointer. On this play and with just 6 seconds remaining Thompson missed the shot. The ball deflected off the Grizzlies which gave the Warriors the ball.
This is the moment that Green came up with an idea for a playcall to Golden State.
“I was just trying to think quick and I was thinking that all of our other out-of-bounds underneath plays we’ve already run,” Green stated. “I was trying to think of something that No. 1, they hadn’t seen, but No. 2, that could give us some space.”
Donte DiVincenzo kept the ball in his hands searching for a place to put it inbound it. Then, Thompson pealed to the left, surrounded by a green screen. Then, Anthony Lamb turned towards the left. In the meantime, Poole cut into the hoop.
DiVincenzo and Poole met in the eye when DiVincenzo gave to him the ball. Poole was able to finish with a reverse layup that make the Warriors ahead by two points with 2.3 seconds left. It was the first field goal made in the final 10 minutes of a game in Poole’s playing career.
“[It was] fire,” Poole declared. “It’s the only way to say it. It was pretty dope. … If anything, to take a positive from this, we know what to do in these crunch games. We’re getting a lot of experience with close games in the regular season, and that will definitely help us down the road.”
The Warriors have seen numerous games decided in a crucial timing (when it’s less than five points within the final five minutes) in the past, however they’ve not had any success with these games. Golden State is 12-13 in these games, which puts them at 18th place in the NBA. This week The Warriors have conceded double-digit leads in the 2nd third game three times before dropping two of them.
The primary reason The main reason, as the Warriors claim, is execution or lack of it. But , in the face of the Grizzlies particularly after Curry was suspended and Curry was ejected Warriors did manage to perform. The most important thing is, they were able to execute their out-of-bounds game.
“We needed this win in a desperate way,” Curry stated. “Not just because it was Memphis and all of the narratives there, but it is just how we are playing. … To see the guys bounce back the way that they did and finish the job, there were a lot of celebrations in the tunnel.”