Warriors earn some rest before 1st Western final since 1976

May 15, 2015, 11:54 PM
Golden State Warriors players laugh on the bench in the second half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA...
Golden State Warriors players laugh on the bench in the second half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball Western Conference playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, May 15, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. The Warriors won 108-95 to win the series 4-2. From left are Justin Holiday, Brandon Rush, Draymond Green, and Stephen Curry. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are shooting the ball outside the arc even better than they did during the regular season.

Yes, they feel ready for the franchise’s first Western Conference final since 1976.

They finished off the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, including a 108-95 win Friday night where they became the first team since the 1985 postseason to hit 14 or more 3s in three consecutive playoff games. Curry was 8 of 13 from beyond the arc as the Warriors knocked down their playoff-best 15 3-pointers.

Draymond Green called it amazing that they finally are back in the conference finals for the first time in 39 years.

“It’s been a long time,” Green said. “This team set goals at the beginning of the year, and obviously in order to reach those goals we have to cross that path. To be at this point is phenomenal, and we are thankful to be here. But we also know that we have a lot of work left to do.”

First, the Warriors get some rest.

They can watch Sunday and see if they play either the Clippers or the Rockets when the conference finals start Tuesday night at Golden State. First-year coach Steve Kerr said he was worried about having a quick turnaround if Memphis forced a Game 7 on Sunday, something they avoided by leading the Grizzlies from the opening tip to the final second.

“So it’s going to be nice for us to have (Saturday) off and have a couple of days to prepare,” Kerr said. “As I’ve said all year, you have to enjoy this as you go. Each step you have to sit back and reflect a little bit, and we’ve got a couple of days to do so.”

The Warriors can enjoy checking out the replay of Curry’s 62-footer to beat the third-quarter buzzer. Most of the Grizzlies thought Andre Iguodala fouled Jeff Green only to get credit for a block that went to Curry, and the MVP tossed the ball in before celebrating. The Grizzlies stood and looked stunned, waiting for a whistle for a foul that never came.

That blunted Memphis’ last real run that saw the Grizzlies get within a point twice in the third.

“That was kind of a momentum swinger,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “We see him in practice hit that all the time actually so. But that was an unbelievable shot coming, and I can’t believe he hit it and you know there’s a reason he’s the MVP. You saw it in the last six minutes of the game of what he did, and he separated ourselves from them.”

Curry finished with his first double-double of the playoffs with 32 points and 10 assists, even though he needed some stretching on the sideline during the second quarter. He finished the series with 25 3-pointers, one more than the Grizzlies managed as a team.

He had a wrap around his waist too when on the bench Friday night. Curry never showed any signs of discomfort, and now he’s looking forward to whoever is next after the Warriors elevated their intensity after falling behind 2-1 to Memphis. He says their confidence is at an all-time high along with their defense.

“To win three straight, that’s huge, and we’re sitting here in the conference finals and looking forward to the next test,” Curry said.

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Warriors earn some rest before 1st Western final since 1976