SACRAMENTO — Wednesday night, with only two points separating Golden State and Memphis, Stephen Curry applauded Jordan Poole after what Curry claimed was an ill-advised 3-point try by his Warriors teammate.
Curry pulled out his mouthpiece and flung it through the air as he ran back on defense. It landed close to the courtside seats after ricocheting off the court, prompting an immediate expulsion.
“I responded in a manner that pushed me out of the game and put the team in a terrible situation,” Curry said after the Warriors pulled off a stunning 122-120 victory. “It was a vital time in the game, and the way that our season has gone, concerns about a heightened sense of urgency.
With playoffs included, this was Curry’s third career expulsion. His mouthpiece has been ejected in all three instances. Curry was benched for a very identical incident during Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals, in which his mouthpiece struck a spectator watching from courtside. After hurling his mouthguard at a referee during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2017, he was dismissed from the game.
Curry asserted that his mouthpiece shouldn’t have resulted in an instant dismissal because it didn’t strike anyone on Wednesday. According to crew chief Sean Wright, though, “Stephen Curry removes his mouthpiece and tosses it with force into the bleachers, as per regulation, it is an instant expulsion.”
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Curry’s 26-foot 3-point jumper over Ja Morant trimmed the Warriors’ deficit to four points with 4:25 remaining in the contest. He matched the score with a long 2-pointer, also over Morant, with about two minutes left to play.
On the opposite end, the Warriors made a tremendous stop, which was followed by three Curry free throws. Curry was dismissed a minute later.
The Warriors persevered long enough to win even without their star.
For a variety of reasons, this is a significant victory for us, according to Draymond Green.
He went on: “In this game, in my opinion, there is always more attention. The Grizzlies, in my opinion, bring out a different element of our competitiveness in us, and we do the same for them. Every time this game is played, both teams give it their all.”
The opening half of the game wasn’t very attractive. In the first half, the Warriors committed 11 fouls and made 14 errors, which is a season-high for errors made at home. The Grizzlies’ offense, on the other hand, struggled, managing just 41.7% shooting from the field, including 25% from three on 4-of-16 attempts.
But things began to change for both sides at the conclusion of the second quarter. That was followed by some chippiness. Curry, Klay Thompson, and Poole chirped at Memphis players as they made their way toward the tunnel as the teams left the floor at halftime. After that, Green and Brandon Clarke received technical fouls in the third quarter.
This was the most recent episode in the Warriors and Grizzlies’ developing rivalry. Despite the playoff series from the previous season, neither team believes their rivalry has yet achieved its full potential.
With 6.1 seconds remaining, Clarke’s dunk gave the Grizzlies the lead and knotted the game. The Warriors intended to get the ball to Thompson on the following play since he had just made a 28-foot 3-pointer eight seconds earlier. On this particular possession, though, he missed the shot with six seconds left. The Grizzlies’ deflection of the ball allowed the Warriors to gain control of the ball.
Green then came up with a playcall for Golden State.
We’ve already ran all of our other out-of-bounds underneath plays, Green reasoned as he struggled to think quickly. I was attempting to come up with something that, in number one, they hadn’t seen but, in number two, may offer us some breathing room.
Donte DiVincenzo kept the ball while he searched for a place to inbound it. Thompson began by calling to the left from behind a green screen. Anthony Lamb then turned to the left. Poole sliced into the hoop in the meanwhile.
After making eye contact with Poole, DiVincenzo passed the ball to him. With 2.3 seconds left, Poole scored a reverse layup to seal the victory for the Warriors. It was Poole’s first field goal to give his team the lead in the waning seconds of a game.
It was fire, according to Poole. “There is no other way to put it. It was really good. The only good to come out of this is that we now know how to play these tight games. In the regular season, we’re playing a lot of close games, and it will undoubtedly assist us in the future.”
This season, the Warriors have lost a number of games that were decided in the final five minutes of play when the score was close by five points. In these contests, Golden State is 12-13, which places them 18th in the NBA. The Warriors have lost two of the three games this week where they surrendered double-digit leads in the second half.
The Warriors claim that execution—or the lack thereof—has been the primary cause of this. However, the Warriors were able to perform against the Grizzlies, particularly after Curry was dismissed from the game. execute their out-of-bounds play, which is crucial.
We desperately needed this victory, Curry remarked. “Not just because Memphis was involved and all the stories there, but also because of the way we are playing. There were several celebrations in the tunnel because of how the boys recovered and completed the task.”