Before Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors’ usual offensive fluidity had looked slightly out of sorts.
But that all changed at Chase Center against the Memphis Grizzlies as they put in a near-historic postseason offensive performance in a convincing 142-112 win in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Golden State’s three dynamic guards – Steph Curry, Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson – combined for 78 points as the Warriors offense lit up the Grizzlies defense.
Curry scored 30, Thompson scored 21 while Poole – enjoying a breakout season – added 27 points off of the bench.
In their 142-point performance, the Warriors shot 63.1% from the field – the second-best in NBA postseason history.
“When we trust each other and we just hit the open man, we’ve got so much great shooting that we’re capable of nights like this,” Thompson told the media.
The victory means the Warriors take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.
For the Grizzlies, Ja Morant finished as the top scorer with 34 points, and that’s despite missing the final six minutes of the game after leaving with an apparent knee injury.
Morant – coming off a blistering 47-point performance in Game 2 – exited the game after appearing to tweak his right knee when Poole twisted it as he reached for a loose ball.
With 6:19 left to play in the fourth quarter, Morant could be seen limping to the locker room. Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said he was undergoing further tests to evaluate the injury.
After the game, Morant tweeted a clip of the incident with the caption: “Broke the code.” The tweet was later deleted.
Morant’s tweeted appeared to be a reference to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr saying Memphis guard Dillon Brooks “broke the code” during Game 2 when he hit Gary Payton II in the head from behind as Payton II was going up for a lay-up just under three minutes into the game. The Warriors guard suffered a fractured elbow after the incident.
Brooks was then ejected after being assessed a flagrant foul-2 – described in the NBA rulebook for contact deemed to be “unnecessary and excessive” – on Payton II and was suspended for Game 3.
Jenkins said Poole had “grabbed his knee and yanked it,” but Poole denied he had intentionally hurt his opponent.
“I hit the ball and I was going for the ball. Obviously, you don’t want to see anybody get hurt. I’m not even that type of player. I respect everybody,” he said.
“Hopefully he gets better, and we can see him out there next game. I don’t even play like that for real. That’s not my type (of) game.”
The Milwaukee Bucks narrowly beat the Boston Celtics 103-101 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, largely in part to a dominant performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Bouncing back from an atypical poor display in Game 2 in Boston, Antetokounmpo scored 42 points, including making the go-ahead basket with 44.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics had mounted a spirited comeback to set up a thrilling finale, but two-time MVP wrestled control back for the defending NBA champions.
But it was a nervy ending for the Bucks, as Celtics forward Al Horford’s tip-in right at the buzzer was ruled to have just come after the clock hit zero, meaning the Bucks have a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.
“There’s going to be struggles, but at the end of the day, if you keep with it and you stay with it and you stay on course, you’re going to succeed,” Antetokounmpo said. “If you don’t stay on course, you’re not going to succeed. It’s as simple as that.”
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 27 points and 12 rebounds while Horford added 22 points and 15 rebounds.
The teams will face off for Game 4 in Milwaukee on Monday night.