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On Monday, Steph Curry scored his 500th career postseason point, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 101-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies and a one-game lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Warriors broke away from the Grizzlies with 45.7 seconds remaining, taking their first lead of the game and taking a 3-1 series lead.
Curry scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 90 with 3:25 remaining, then nailed eight crucial free throws in the last minute to put his team ahead.
“Nothing we figured out,” Curry said after the game, “it was simply don’t let the first three quarters effect the fact that we still had a chance to win the game.” All of this was accomplished by us. “Shoot the shots you believe you can make, play aggressively, and maintain the ball in your possession.”
Golden State’s task was made even more difficult when coach Steve Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 two hours before tip-off and was unable to take his bench spot. Mike Brown, who will take over as head coach of the Sacramento Kings next season after leading the Warriors to an 11-0 record during their 2017 championship run when Kerr was unavailable, has been nominated to take his place.
“I believe his head coaching record for a Warrior playoff game is pristine,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “We missed Steve’s voice and presence a lot, but we’ve been here before, in 2017 when Mike took over and we had a lot of wins, so I thought about it a lot.”
Due to poor shooting, neither team was able to break away, shooting only 42% from the field and 26% from beyond the arc.
The Warriors were 0-15 from three-point range until Otto Porter Jr. made a three with 3:24 left in the second quarter. Despite missing all seven of his three-point attempts, Thompson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Grizzlies’ defense, spearheaded by Jaren Jackson Jr., who blocked five shots and had two steals, shut down the Warriors’ offense.
Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 21 points in the absence of star point guard Ja Morant, who suffered a right knee injury in Saturday’s Game 3 loss. Tyrus Jones added 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists to complete out the scoring.
It’ll be challenging. It’s a tough thing to swallow. We appeared to have perfect control of the situation.” Jones spoke to the media after the game. “We appeared to be in good physical condition.” We appeared to be in great shape to win the game, but things didn’t go our way in the last minutes.”
On Wednesday, the fifth game will be played in Memphis.
Al Horford scored 30 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 116-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference, tying their best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
“I generally just kind of go about my business,” Horford told the media after the game. “I get excited, but I feel you must choose your circumstances and times carefully. This was an emotionally charged contest.”