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Warriors 4th quarter surge, Curry free throws secure 3-1 series lead

Steve Kerr was a late scratch after testing positive for Covid. The Warriors took their first lead of the game with 45 seconds to go in the fourth.

Golden State didn’t make a field goal the last three minutes of the game.

And yet, even with all that, they were able to pull out a 101-98 win Monday night to go up 3-1 on the Memphis Grizzlies.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors locker room at Chase Center.

The Warriors, powered by Stephen Curry, scored 39 points in the fourth quarter — after just 38 points at halftime.

Klay Thompson said it only takes one basket or free throw for Curry to get back on track:

Me, him and JP, the shots were not falling like we wanted them to. But that’s just Steph. He has that mindset where he is the best shooter of all time and it just takes one good look at the rim or free throw line and when that happens, the floodgates open, and we stuck with it tonight as a whole.”

Curry put up 18 of his 32 in the final frame and Golden State absolutely needed every, single one of them. It was a rockfight in every sense of the word.

Brown joked that Curry might not have the best memory, but that’s a good thing:

The great part about Steph, he’s got to be the easiest superstar to be around. I hate to say, I don’t know if he has a great memory, which is fantastic … because he doesn’t think about it or think about the past or dwell on it too hard, he always thinks that the next thing is going to happen in a positive manner for him.”

The frenetic feel of the game started even before the buzzer sounded as Kerr tested positive for Covid just before tip and Brown, who had just been named head coach of the Sacramento Kings, had to take over.

Brown said he found out right before the game:

I was putting the minutes sheet together about to walk out for the National Anthem and Steve called me from his house and said Mike, ‘You’ve got to get out there before the anthem and coach.’ So right before tipoff.”

Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson (1) blocks a shot by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) in the fourth quarter during Game 4 of an NBA basketball Western Conference playoff semifinal in San Francisco on Monday, May 9, 2022. (Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca)

Klay Thompson went 6-of-20 from the field and 0-of-7 from 3, while Jordan Poole wasn’t much better, going 4-of-12 and 0-of-3.

With two potent scorers dragging, the second most impactful player for the Warriors was probably — Dillon Brooks.

Brooks returned from his one game suspension Monday, though the Grizzlies might have wished he got a lengthier punishment.

He shot 5-of-19 from the field, had four turnover, five fouls, and routinely made head-scratching decisions to drive or isolate.

It seemed like anytime the Grizzlies got some momentum to put the game away, Brooks clawed the Warriors back in.

That, coupled with star Ja Morant missing the contest with knee soreness, bought the Warriors enough time to snap out of their prolonged malaise and finally wake up on the court.

Otto Porter Jr helped with that as well, as the veteran hit four 3’s, the most he’s hit since way back on December 8.

Porter has been incredible for the Warriors this series, knocking down 3’s, rebounding against bigger opponents, and playing as both a small ball power forward and center.

Brown praised Porter’s intelligence and versatility:

He can guard multiple positions and if he’s guarding a bigger guy, he’s great putting a body on a body or keeping his man off the glass so somebody else can get it. The versatility he brings to the table is much needed for us, especially at his size because we play small a lot.”

And he’s not affected by those around him. When his teammates have been struggling, he’s been old reliable.

Outside of Porter and Curry, the rest of the team was just 1-of-17 from 3-point range. Surprisingly the person who has most matched Porter’s scrappy energy is Andrew Wiggins.

Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) loses the ball to Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) as he drives to the hoop during Game 4 of an NBA basketball Western Conference playoff semifinal in San Francisco on Monday, May 9, 2022. (Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca)

Wiggins has single-handedly repaired his reputation with his unsung performances. He had 10 rebounds Monday and if you put aside Game 3, he’s averaging nine boards per game during this series.

He’s also hit 17 points in three of the four contests, the textbook definition of steady.

It’s exactly what the Warriors have needed, with Thompson and Poole proving more volatile than they would like.

Golden State is up and in total control of this series, but make no mistake, they are not playing well.

And it’s something they can get away with against this Grizzlies team, especially when they are missing Morant.

But soon, perhaps as soon as next weekend, this is going to catch up with them.

Normally you would say they need to flip the switch, but that gives them too much credit for how close they are.

Right now, they need to just find where the switch is.

Up Next

A tight schedule awaits, as they’ll get just a one day break while traveling to Memphis for Game 5 Wednesday. Which doesn’t bode well for either team, Steve Kerr, or the rims in FedEx Forum.

Notes

Stephen Curry became the first player ever to make 500 playoff 3’s. LeBron James sits in second place with 432. … Jonathan Kuminga started his second-straight game, and looked much more under control than his first game. However, he logged just five minutes, and Otto Porter Jr. started the second half in his place.


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