San Fracisco (USA), May 21 (EFE) .- The point guard Ja Morant, who contributed 35 points, scored two jump shots in a row in the last 48 seconds of overtime and the Memphis Grizzlies won 112 on the road. -117 to the Golden State Warriors in the decisive third game of the Western Conference play-in tournament.
The victory allowed the Grizzlies to stay with eighth place that allows them to go to the playoffs, to which they return after four years of absence and their rival in the first round will be the Uta Jazz, the team with the best record in the Conference. West and the league, starting Sunday, when they play the first game of the series.
This time, All-Star point guard Stephen Curry could not be a winning factor for the Warriors because the Grizzlies responded to all their scoring streaks with Morant as the leader who scored five triples, in addition to capturing six rebounds and distributing six assists.
Backup guard Jordan Poole scored a 3-pointer from the lead with 1:50 left in overtime for Golden State only to see backup center Xavier Tillman respond with a baseline with another 3-pointer later.
Poole fumbled the ball out of bounds leading to Morant’s basket with 4 seconds left, then Poole made another unlikely 3 with 2 seconds remaining and that was the end of the Warriors’ irregular but worthwhile injury-plagued season.
Morant hit 14 of 29 shooting from the field and Memphis more than doubled his total from deep this time against Golden State to win at the home of the Warriors just five days after losing 113-101 in the final game of the regular season.
Forward Dillon Brooks, a key player in the fourth quarter in the Grizzlies’ last two games, scored 7 of 22 shots from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts for 14 points.
Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas added nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds before going to the bench eliminated from personnel, while the Grizzlies scored 15 of 35 3-point attempts.
The Grizzlies arrived with aggression, determination and absolutely fearless, beating Golden State in every facet of the game, with good offensive play to create additional opportunities, jumping on passing lanes to force turnovers and getting a lot more production from the bank than in the previous two games.
Memphis had to reach the postseason in the most difficult way as it was to win the two play-in games, the first against the San Antonio Spurs, at home, 100-96 and then against the Warriors, on the road, after the Californian equipment had lost the second party by 103-100 before Los Angeles Lakers, in Staples Center, like eight classified in the regular season.
Memphis ended a three-year playoff drought since it made seven straight appearances through 2016-17, and has lost in the first round on its previous two trips and four of those seven appearances in total.
Curry, who became a scoring champion against the Grizzlies on Sunday, finished with 39 points and six 3-pointers as he dazzled in front of an official attendance of 7,505 fans who filled the stands at Chase Center.
The Warriors failed to return to the playoffs, for the first time since reaching five consecutive NBA Finals in 2019, before losing in six games to the Toronto Raptors after holding the field advantage in the series.
With a final full of emotion, the great merit of the Warriors was to have been able to overcome a 13-point deficit with which they went down on the scoreboard at halftime (49-62), something that in the end was going to weigh on them because they always they were the ones who had to make the most effort in the field.
Then Curry let go, just as he did throughout the season in one of his best years so far and tried to lead a comeback that was very close to completion, but again the absence of a decisive player, guard Klay, was felt. Thompson, who missed the second consecutive season due to a serious injury, this time to the Achilles tendon.
The 22 points contributed by Canadian forward Andrew Wiggins, who arrived to take his place, nor Poole’s 19 points, as a reserve, and the triple-double of veteran power forward Draymond Green, who had 11 touchdowns, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, prevented the defeat of the Warriors.
Neither the good contribution of the Mexican American forward Juan Toscano-Anderson four points (1-5, 0-2, 2-2), seven rebounds, four assists and a stopper, in 32 minutes of action, prevented the elimination of the Warriors, who had finished the regular season in their field with six consecutive wins.
(c) EFE Agency