Posts Tagged ‘Game 6’

The Golden State Warriors are on top of the basketball world once again.

Stephen Curry finished with 34 points and seven assists to help the Warriors edge the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden. The win secured Golden State’s fourth title in eight seasons and the team’s first since 2018.

This marks Curry’s fourth championship and first Finals MVP award after averaging 31.2 points, five assists, and two steals in the six-game series. Meanwhile, Steve Kerr won his fourth title as Warriors head coach and his ninth overall after winning five championships during his playing career with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

Golden State’s title completes an incredible two-year turnaround for the franchise after finishing the 2019-20 season with the NBA’s worst record, then losing in the Western Conference play-in tournament in 2020-21. The journey has been a particularly personal one for Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who missed two full campaigns because of a torn ACL and torn Achilles before returning in January.

Draymond Green played a tremendous game with 12 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two blocks while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in 42 minutes.

Andrew Wiggins was once again brilliant for Golden State with one of his most complete two-way performances in the Finals. The Canadian flirted with a 5×5 game with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocks. Wiggins also played a pivotal role in limiting star Jayson Tatum to 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting.

The Warriors dominated to close the first half with a 52-25 run after beginning the game down 14-2. Golden State shot an identical 41.3% on field goals and 3-pointers and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Warriors reserve Gary Payton II and Hall of Famer Gary Payton became the fifth father-son duo in league history to each win a championship during their playing careers, according to SB Nation.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting in the loss. The Celtics committed 22 turnovers, which marked a new high for the team this series. This marked the Celtics’ first three-game losing streak since December 2021.

The Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the New York Rangers with a 2-1 victory in Game 6 on Saturday to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season.

Tampa Bay will take on the Colorado Avalanche in the final looking to become the first NHL team to three-peat since the New York Islanders’ dynasty of the early 1980s.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored both goals in the dramatic win. His second came 21 seconds after the Rangers’ Frank Vatrano tied the contest with 6:53 remaining in the third period.

“It’s just going out and just playing as hard as you can for the next guy that sits beside you in that locker room,” Stamkos said, per NHL.com’s Chris Krenn. “That’s why this group is so special.”

Stamkos added: “We trust every guy that goes over those boards to do his job. Whether you score a goal or not, it’s the little things that you do. It’s the defending. It’s the blocked shots. It’s the sacrifice. It’s not complaining about your role.”

Superstar goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 stops in the win to continue his postseason dominance. In his last eight series-clinching games, the reigning Conn Smythe winner has a .991 save percentage along with a 0.25 goals-against average and six shutouts.

The Lightning became just the third team in league history to win at least 11 consecutive playoff series. The Islanders (19 from 1980-83) and Montreal Canadiens (13 from 1976-79) are the only teams to have won more.

The Stanley Cup Final is set to begin Wednesday in Denver.

Colorado finished the regular season as the top team in the Western Conference with 119 points. The club is 12-2 so far in the playoffs.

“Probably the best team in the league,” Stamkos said of the Avalanche, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith. “We’re going to have our hands full.”

Filip Chytil scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on Saturday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their second-round playoff series.

Tyler Motte and Mika Zibanejad scored in the first period to get New York started, Artemi Panarin tallied in the third and Adam Fox had two assists to help the Rangers set a franchise record with their sixth straight home win this postseason.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 shots for New York, which has not lost at home since a three-OT defeat to Pittsburgh in Game 1 of the first round. The Rangers won their fourth straight elimination game, including Games 5, 6 and 7 against the Penguins.

Brady Skjei had a goal and an assist, and Vincent Trochek also scored for the Hurricanes. Carolina fell to 0-6 on the road this postseason — becoming the first team in NHL history to lose its first six road games in a postseason — to go along with a 7-0 mark at home.

Antti Raanta was pulled after giving up three goals on 13 shots. Pyotr Kochetkov came on and finished with 10 saves.

Game 7 is back in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday night. The winner will open the Eastern Conference finals at home against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Darren Helm scored the winner in the final seconds of regulation, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 on Friday night.

The Avalanche advanced to the Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers, who ended the Calgary Flames’ season Thursday.

Colorado superstar Nathan MacKinnon acknowledged the Avalanche have a difficult task ahead of them in containing the Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“It’s going to be tough,” the center told TNT postgame, according to the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran. “I’ve been watching like everybody else. … Probably the two best players in the world right now. It’s going to (require) a full team effort to stop them.”

Colorado will play in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001-02, when the club lost to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup the season before that but have since lost four times in the first round and six times in the second round – including in each of the previous three campaigns.

Helm’s clincher Friday came 13 years to the day after he buried a winner in overtime while with the Red Wings to send Detroit to the Stanley Cup Final.

Kyle Lowry listened politely while Jimmy Butler shared the credit for Miami’s Game 6 victory until his fellow All-Star took the humility too far and called his 47-point, elimination-avoiding performance “decent.”

“It’s (expletive) incredible,” Lowry corrected him, apologizing for his language to the TV cameras in the back of the room and begging not to be fined by the league. “It’s incredible to have a guy like him next to me. I’ve played with some great players, and he’s one of the best.”

Butler scored 47 points — a career playoff high and one of the best performances by a player facing elimination in NBA history — and the Heat forced the Eastern Conference finals to a decisive seventh game by beating the Boston Celtics 111-103 on Friday night.

Ten years after LeBron James scored 45 points in a Game 6 in Boston en route to the first of the Heat’s back-to-back NBA titles, Butler scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to top him and send the series back to Miami.

With a victory at home, the Heat would advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

“This is the way it should be, with these two teams. It should have gone seven games,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I’m just really thrilled that our group gets an opportunity to compete in a Game 7 in front of our home crowd.”

The winner of Game 7 on Sunday will advance to the NBA Finals against Golden State, which eliminated the Dallas Mavericks in five games Thursday night. Warriors forward Draymond Green said afterward that he expected to play the Celtics.

In the most back-and-forth game of the series, Boston took a 97-94 lead on Derrick White’s 3-pointer with under five minutes to play — the first time all series the lead has changed hands in the fourth quarter. Lowry answered with a 3 and then added two free throws as Miami scored 11 of the next 13 points.

Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists before fouling out with 2:18 left. Butler made 16 of 29 shots — including 4 of 8 from 3-point range — and all 11 free throws.

“He came out from the jump and kind of put his imprint on the game,” White said. “That’s just who he’s been his whole career, constantly attacking and doing what he does to help his team win. We knew it was coming, and we’ve got to do a better job in Game 7.”

Jayson Tatum had 30 points and nine rebounds for Boston, and White came off the bench to score 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. The Celtics are trying to reach the finals for the first time since 2010, two years after the New Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen won the franchise’s 17th NBA title — a record since tied by the Lakers.

“It’s no secret: It’s Game 7, trip to the NBA Finals, a lot on the line,” Tatum said. “We know what’s at stake. We know how much this means to everybody.”

Jaylen Brown scored 20 points for Boston, missing a pair of free throws with the game tied at 99 after Lowry fouled out. Brown fouled out himself on a charge offensive that was assessed after a challenge on a missed dunk with 13 seconds left and the Celtics down by four.

AVOIDING ELIMINATION

Butler’s 47 points were the seventh-most in NBA history for a player facing elimination.

Elgin Baylor had 61 against Boston in Game 5 of the 1962 finals. Wilt Chamberlain topped 50 three times, Sleepy Floyd had 50 against the Lakers in 1987 and Jamal Murray scored 50 against Utah in 2020.

It was also the third-most to stave off elimination against the Celtics. In addition to Baylor, Chamberlain had 50 in Game 5 of the East finals in 1960.

James’ 45 against Boston in Game 6 of the 2012 conference finals set the stage for a Game 7 win in Miami.

The Heat are hoping Butler’s performance can do the same.

“I get it, people can easily draw the comparisons between the two,” Spoelstra said. “That’s a different era. That’s a different team. I want our guys to embrace this moment.”

IN AND OUT

Miami guard Tyler Herro missed his third straight game with a strained groin, costing the team its No. 2 scorer. Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring) and P.J. Tucker (knee) had been listed as questionable but were in the starting lineup.

Boston’s Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) and Robert Williams III (sore knee) tested their injuries pregame and were also in the lineup.

TIP-INS

Heat: Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in the first. He scored or assisted on 24 of Miami’s 29 points in the quarter.

Celtics: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who was inducted into the ballclub’s Hall of Fame on Thursday night, was courtside. Ortiz threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park earlier in the evening. Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez was also at the game, wearing his World Series ring.

Jayson Tatum wouldn’t let it happen again.

With the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks attempting to complete a fourth-quarter comeback for the second straight game and close out their Eastern Conference semifinal, Tatum made sure the Boston Celtics instead kept their season alive and forced a decisive seventh game.

Tatum scored 46 points and the Celtics withstood a brilliant performance from Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo to win 108-95 on Friday night, the third straight victory for a road team in this thrilling series.

“I wasn’t going to leave anything out there and have any regrets,” Tatum said. “Just trying to do what it took.”

After the Bucks reduced a 14-point deficit to four with just under 9 minutes left, Tatum took over the game. He scored 16 of Boston’s 26 fourth-quarter points.

“He was unbelievable,” said Antetokounmpo, who was pretty extraordinary in his own right with 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists.

Tatum’s effort set up a winner-take-all matchup Sunday in Boston. The victor heads to Miami to begin an East finals matchup with the top-seeded Heat on Tuesday.

“I don’t think anybody’s won two games in a row in this series,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Now, it’s the finality. You’ve got to go and find a way to get that fourth win and win the series. I think everybody in sport looks for that game. That college feel. That NCAA feel, where if you lose your season’s done, if you win, you keep going. It’s exciting.”

The Bucks had won all eight of their potential series clinchers in Budenholzer’s four-year tenure before Friday. This marked the first time the Bucks had lost a possible clincher since a Game 7 defeat at Boston in a 2018 first-round series.

Boston showed its grit by bouncing back two nights after blowing a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 110-107 Game 5 home loss. The Bucks tried to rally again after trailing by 14 in the final period, but this time the Celtics stayed in front.

“Tonight will be the first night since that game that I’ll get some sleep,” said Marcus Smart, who had 21 points, seven assists and no turnovers.

Jaylen Brown added 22 points for the Celtics, who capitalized on their superiority from 3-point range. The Celtics were 17 of 43 and the Bucks 7 of 27 from beyond the arc.

Antetokounmpo tried to lead the Bucks to a second straight improbable comeback.

Boston led 84-70 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and was up 84-73 when officials ruled Grant Williams had drawn a charge for Antetokounmpo’s fifth foul. But the Bucks challenged the call and it was overturned on replay, instead sending Antetokounmpo to the line with four fouls.

Antetokounmpo made both free throws to start an 8-0 run that got the Bucks back into the game. The Bucks trimmed the margin to 85-81 on Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer with 8:42 left.

Tatum said he was thinking about that Game 5 collapse as the Bucks started to rally. He wanted to make sure the Bucks didn’t win the 50-50 balls and dominate the glass the way they did down the stretch on Wednesday.

“They were tougher than us in that fourth quarter of Game 5,” Tatum said. “That was in the back of my mind. That was in the back of everybody’s mind, that we couldn’t get beat on those kind of plays. Our season was on the line.”

Tatum wouldn’t let the Bucks get any closer.

After that 8-0 Bucks spurt, Tatum scored the Celtics’ next 11 points. That included a fadeaway jumper as the shot clock expired to get the lead back to six plus a couple of 3-pointers.

“He went into another mode right there,” Smart said. “We’d seen it in his eyes.”

Tatum and Brown each hit a 3-pointer during an 8-0 spurt that closed with Smart’s jumper that made it 100-87 with 4:20 remaining.

Boston maintained a double-digit edge the rest of the way.

“We had the right resolve,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “We talked about it after that game. We let an opportunity slip away (Wednesday) but we still had a chance to make it a better story, I guess.”

MISSING PLAYERS

The Celtics played without forward/center Robert Williams for a third straight game. Udoka said Williams suffered a bone bruise in his left knee while colliding with Antetokounmpo in Game 3.

Milwaukee was missing three-time All-Star forward Khris Middleton for a ninth consecutive game. Middleton sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during Game 2 of the Bucks’ first-round series with the Chicago Bulls.

GAME 7 HISTORY

The Celtics own a 24-9 Game 7 record, while the Bucks are just 3-8.

But the Bucks can lean on some recent successful history in winner-take-all games. Their title run last year included a Game 7 overtime victory at Brooklyn in the East semifinals.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Tatum has scored at least 30 points in three straight games. … After going a combined 5 of 27 on 3-point attempts in Games 3-5, Tatum was 7 of 15 on Friday. … The Celtics were 10 of 17 from 3-point range in the game’s first 14 1/2 minutes.

Bucks: Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday (17) and Pat Connaughton (14) combined for 75 of the Bucks’ 95 points. The other Bucks shot a combined 9 of 33 overall and 0 of 13 from 3-point range. … Antetokounmpo was 14 of 15 on free-throw attempts. … A moment of silence was held before the game to honor Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, who died Tuesday at the age of 73. Lanier played for the Bucks from 1980-84, and his No. 16 jersey hangs from the Fiserv Forum rafters.

CREW CHIEF CHANGE

Scott Foster, the scheduled crew chief for Game 6, couldn’t officiate because of an illness unrelated to COVID-19. Eric Lewis took over as crew chief with Ben Taylor working as the referee and Tre Maddox as the umpire.

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are going the distance.

Chris Kreider broke a tie with under two minutes left in the third period of Game 6 on Friday. The Rangers added an empty-netter for a 5-3 victory to set up a winner-take-all finale.

Penguins goaltender Louis Domingue got a piece of Kreider’s harmless-looking, long-range slapper, but the puck trickled by him and into the net.

Kreider was initially credited with the goal before it was changed to Mika Zibanejad‘s. It was ultimately switched back to Kreider’s goal, taking a hat trick away from the Swede.

Nevertheless, Kreider and Zibanejad were two key offensive catalysts for New York. Zibanejad registered four points and Kreider potted two goals. Defenseman Adam Fox was all over the scoresheet with four assists, too.

Igor Shesterkin was stellar between the pipes for the Blueshirts, stopping 31 of 34 shots. He also helped set up Kreider’s first goal with a brilliant saucer pass from his own goal line that found Zibanejad right on the tape at the far blue line.

The Rangers went down 2-0 early before scoring five of the game’s last six goals. They’re just the third team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to produce consecutive multi-goal comeback wins to stave off elimination, joining the 1987 Philadelphia Flyers and 1950 Detroit Red Wings.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, was without captain Sidney Crosby, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and their top two goalies, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith. The Penguins also lost veteran Brian Boyle to a lower-body injury during the contest.

Games 7 goes Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Joe Pavelski and the Dallas Stars were skating with urgency in the third period. If not, it could easily have been their last one of the season.

Miro Heiskanen scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and the Stars recovered after blowing an early two-goal lead, beating the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Friday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference series.

“The message was we’ve got to have a good third. We haven’t always had good thirds at times with the lead, and we wanted to kind of try to turn that,” Pavelski said. “The other night, they came out hard in the third and we didn’t handle it well enough. And tonight was one of those situations where I think everyone bought in. We took a step in the right direction of doing it.”

Calgary was in position to close out the wild-card Stars after a 3-1 home win in Game 5 on Wednesday night, when the Pacific Division champions scored all of their goals in the third period.

This series instead is going back to the Saddledome for a deciding Game 7 on Sunday night.

“A hell of a game. We couldn’t get the equalizer,” a rather-terse Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said.

The first goal in these playoffs for Heiskanen came on a 40-foot shot with a bunch of traffic in front of Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. That came with 2:28 left in the second period, in which both teams scored twice.

With their season on the line, the Stars didn’t give in during the third period.

“We went after them instead of sitting back. … That was one of our better third periods of the year, and it was a timely one,” Michael Raffl said.

“That was NHL playoff hockey at its best. That was a great hockey game,” coach Rick Bowness said. “Both teams, both goalies, were great.”

Calgary will host a Game 7 for the first time since 2006, when it lost its first-round series to Anaheim. This is the third consecutive playoffs that the Stars will play a Game 7 — they beat Colorado in the second round in the NHL bubble in Canada two seasons ago, and lost at St. Louis in a second-round series that went the full distance in 2019.

“We have a confident group,” Pavelski said. “Every game’s been tight, been competitive and fun to play in.”

Roope Hintz and Raffl also scored for Dallas, and Tyler Seguin added an empty-netter in the final minute. Jake Oettinger, their 23-year-old goalie who had never started a playoff game before this series, stopped 36 shots.

Markstrom also had 36 saves.

Calgary tied the game at 2 with 8:01 left in the second period on a goal by Mikael Backlund, which came 1 second after the end of what officially went down as another unsuccessful power play in this series when both teams have struggled with a man advantage.

That made the Flames 0 for 2 on the power play in the game, to match Dallas at 2 for 21 in the series.

The Stars made it 2 for 22 midway through the third period when Joe Pavelski had an almost point-blank shot that ricocheted off Markstrom’s skate that was on the line.

Backlund’s third goal of the series came on a slap shot that Oettinger had deflected before it bounced off Heiskanen and into the net. That was about four minutes after Johnny Gaudreau’s nifty crossing pass to Michael Stone for the easy tip-in.

“They get two, and we climb back. It’s a tight game but I’d say that 3-2 goal late in the second was tough,” Flames center Elias Lindholm said. “Obviously, we’d like to win this game, but it’s a new day tomorrow and a game on Sunday, and that’s why we fought so hard all year to have home ice on Game 7.”

The Stars had a 2-0 lead about six minutes into the second period when Raffl finished off a wild play in front of the net.

Joel Kiviranta was trying to follow up his own shot, even reaching back after skating past the net, while two Calgary skaters and Markstrom all went down on the ice. Defenseman Christopher Tanev was one of the ones down, and tried to push the puck away with his hand before Raffl was able to stuff it just inside the post

Hintz got his second goal of the series with 5:08 left in the first period, right after Oettinger withstood a flurry of shots at the other end.

Matthew Tkachuk and Gaudreau, both 100-point and 40-goal scorers in the regular season, got off quick shots in succession that had Oettinger scrambling and diving across the crease.

Once the Stars had the puck going the other way, Pavelski had a drop-back pass for the charging Hintz, who sent a quick wrister under the legs of Markstrom.

Tkachuk took a backhander off his knee early in the first period that ricocheted off the post.

GAME 7 HISTORY

Calgary is 5-7 in Game 7s, but has lost six of the last seven it has played. The only Game 7 victory for the Flames since 1990 was in the first round against Vancouver in 2004, before they then advanced to the Stanley Cup Final and lost to Tampa Bay in the seventh game.

Dallas is 6-8, including a Game 7 win over Colorado in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, when the Stars went on to make the Stanley Cup Final in the postseason played in a bubble in Canada because of the pandemic.

When the Florida Panthers faced their first real adversity of the season trailing their playoff series against the Washington Capitals, players held a meeting to set things straight.

They talked about what they needed to do better and got on the same page.

“After that, we just started playing the right way,” captain Aleksander Barkov said. “We held each other accountable, worked really hard for each other and for the guy next to you. That’s how you win.”

The Panthers won the franchise’s first playoff series since 1996 by relying on a familiar recipe from the regular season when they were the NHL’s best team and led the league with 29 comeback victories. Each of their final three wins against Washington was in come-from-behind fashion, once erasing a three-goal deficit and twice getting some overtime heroics from Carter Verhaeghe.

Initial nerves at home early in the series faded when Florida started to feel the pressure. Then the Panthers started to look and play like themselves and moved on to face the winner of the series between the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.

“As the series went on, I felt they loosened up a little bit,” interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “They found their mojo and got going.”

That mojo provided the confidence the Panthers needed to withstand a tying goal by Washington’s T.J. Oshie with 1:03 left in Game 6 and a series-long 0-for-18 drought on the power play. They joined only a handful of teams in NHL playoff history to win a best-of-seven series without scoring a power-play goal but could still get a chuckle out of it in the aftermath of an emotional victory.

“We just got to stick with it and, obviously, maybe work on our power play because we haven’t scored a goal,” top winger Jonathan Huberdeau said.

No team scored as many goals as the Panthers during the regular season — a rate of 4.11 a game not seen since Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Florida didn’t have a team yet at that point.

Success came early in the organization’s existence with a trip to the Cup Final in its third season. After the Panthers were swept by the Colorado Avalanche, they hadn’t won a playoff series since and the reputation of losing in the first round latched on to the franchise and, particularly, cornerstone players Barkov, Huberdeau, and defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Verhaeghe was the team’s leading scorer with 12 points on six goals and six assists, but Florida’s core players were a big part of moving on and got a chance to soak it all in.

“We’re all happy and (it is) a big relief for us,” Huberdeau said. “Having this feeling, we didn’t know how it felt. The last time I felt that was junior. It’s just good to have that feeling again about winning a series, and now we just go to work and think about second round, and who knows, win this one as well.”

Newcomers played a major role, too. Trade-deadline acquisition Claude Giroux scored in the third period of Game 6 and set up Verhaeghe for the overtime winner, which was some level of redemption for the longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain after losing a key faceoff late in regulation when Washington tied it.

“When they tie it up, maybe some guys are down a little bit,” Giroux said. “I was probably one of them. But the mood was great. Guys were excited. Guys had a feeling that if we play our game we’re going to get our chances and we’ll be able to score.”

Even amid their power-play struggles, the Panthers showed they could score at 5-on-5 and got solid goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky to keep playoff hockey going in South Florida. Even though his team had made good on the “Comeback Cats” nickname again, Brunette saw the series as more of what the Panthers did well all year.

“I see a group of guys that get hit and they don’t fall down and then they start hitting back,” he said. “To give up a late goal, those are heartbreaking moments. They could really affect you, it could kill momentum, it could do a bunch of things and again we took the punch, we stood up, and then we started punching back. That epitomizes what the whole season was.”

This kind of playoff triumph is three years in the making for Klay Thompson, who endured countless hours of rehab and heartache to reach this point again.

And after another spectacular shooting performance on the big stage, coach Mike Brown just wanted to offer up a congratulatory hug.

Instead, Thompson told Brown how much he will miss him next season when Brown takes over the Sacramento Kings — but they still have plenty of basketball left together.

Thompson knocked down eight 3-pointers on the way to 30 points, Stephen Curry scored 29 with six 3s, and the Warriors eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies with a 110-96 win in Game 6 on Friday night.

A trip to the Western Conference finals is next, and coach Steve Kerr should be healthy from his bout with COVID-19.

“Honestly, especially the perspective I’ve gained from the injuries I’ve had, to now be able to compete at highest level and be one of the final four teams, it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe honestly,” Thompson said. “It’s truly amazing and it just inspires me to keep going because I think we still have great basketball ahead of me.”

Curry found his shooting touch late and made two straight baskets for a 78-77 lead entering the final 12 minutes. Draymond Green contributed 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Kevon Looney returned to the starting lineup and grabbed 22 rebounds while Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth with a pair of timely 3s.

It was Curry and Green who pushed for Looney to start after the Warriors discussed it on the flight home from Memphis after Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat.

Golden State — sent home by Memphis in the play-in tournament last year — withstood a testy series to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached its fifth straight NBA Finals before losing to Toronto.

The third-seeded Warriors will face the Phoenix-Dallas winner in the conference finals. Game 7 of that series is Sunday in Phoenix.

Thompson is back shining in the playoffs after his 2 1/2-year absence with a pair of serious injuries, first recovering from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee and then an operation for a torn right Achilles tendon.

“That’s Klay. He expects to go out there and play great,” Brown said. “We expect him to go out there and play great.”

“Whoop that trick!” the delighted, raucous home crowd chanted in the waning moments, the fans’ steal away from Memphis.

“It was good to see the fans embrace that,” Green said.

Dillon Brooks scored 30 points with a career-best seven 3-pointers but picked up his second flagrant foul of the series. Desmond Bane added 25.

Curry checked back in for the final 8:21 and delivered a 3 with 5:45 remaining off a beautiful bounce pass by Green. Looney found Green for an easy dunk the next time down, capping a decisive 10-0 run.

Brooks considered the challenge of facing the Splash Brothers something that will only make Memphis better.

“They know that we’re going to come every single year,” he said. “We’re young, they’re getting old so they know we’re coming every single year.”

After Wednesday’s 134-95 debacle on the Grizzlies’ home floor in which they trailed by as many as 55, the Warriors were determined to do everything better, especially cutting down on the 22 turnovers leading to 29 points.

The Warriors outrebounded the Grizzlies 70-44, becoming the first team to grab 70 rebounds in a playoff game since San Antonio had 75 against Denver on May 4, 1983.

Bane scored the first two baskets of the game before the Warriors ran off 10 consecutive points, with a pair of layups by Green and a 3 by both Curry and Thompson.

Looney started after Jonathan Kuminga had the previous three games following the injury to guard Gary Payton II. He broke his left elbow in an awkward fall after being hit over the head by Brooks in Game 2 that earned Brooks a Flagrant 2 foul and one-game suspension.

He was booed loudly again at every chance by the sellout crowd at Chase Center. When Payton was shown on the big screen during a first-quarter timeout, he received a rousing ovation and touched his hand to his heart before encouraging them to get louder.

Memphis again played without All-Star guard Ja Morant, who missed his third straight game with a bone bruise in his troublesome right knee that the Grizzlies blamed on Jordan Poole pulling on the knee while going for a loose ball in Game 3.

“Ja is one of the best point guards in this league, so you guys know that obviously it would change,” Brooks said. “But we made do with what we had.”

THOMPSON’S TOUCH

Thompson shot 11 for 22 — 8 of 14 from long range — and notched his fourth career postseason game with eight 3s to tie Ray Allen, Curry, and Damian Lillard for most in NBA history.

“We went on a two-year hiatus from the playoffs and mostly due to his absence,” Green said.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Brooks had three flagrant points and finished one from an automatic one-game suspension. … Memphis missed its final 10 shots of the second quarter. … The Grizzlies held a 55-37 rebounding advantage in Game 5.

Warriors: Curry was 6 for 17 from deep. … Looney’s 11 first-quarter rebounds were a career high for any quarter. … F Otto Porter Jr. was out with soreness in his right foot. … Veteran Andre Iguodala, still sidelined with a left cervical disc injury, is scheduled to be re-evaluated again later next week.

FRIDAY THE 13TH

The Warriors had a playoff game on Friday the 13th for just the second time in franchise history, previously when they beat the Bucks 100-86 on April 13, 1973, in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals to win the series 4-2, according to Elias.