The Golden State Warriors closed out their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night, winning 110-96 on their home floor and advancing to the Western Conference Finals for first-time since 2019 and the sixth-time in the last eight years.
While Game 6 was very back-and-forth heading into the fourth quarter, the Warriors closed out this game on a 23-7 run thanks to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson knocking down shots from the perimeter that made Chase Center explode with excitement!
Curry and Thompson combined for 59 points on Friday night, but perhaps the most important performance of the night came from Kevon Looney.
Inserted into Golden State’s starting lineup for the first-time in this series, Looney played 35 minutes and finished +10 for the game due to his 4 points, 5 assists and 22 massive rebounds, 11 of which came on the offensive-end of the floor.
This may have been Kevon Looney’s best game as a member of the Golden State Warriors and this championship proven team needed every single one of his rebounds to close out this series.
As for Memphis, nobody expected them to be in the Western Conference Semifinals this season and nobody expected them to win 56 games either!
The 2021-22 season was a massive success for the Grizzlies and now, it is time for them to take the next step as a franchise in the offseason and become the championship contenders they looked like all series long against Golden State.
This semifinals series ended up being a very eventful and physical series that could have gone either way, but the Warriors prevailed and are heading back to the Western Conference Finals. Here are the key details we learned from this series between the Grizzlies and Warriors.
Turnovers Could Cost Golden State A Chance At Another Title
Golden State’s ability to go on scoring flurries and shoot from the perimeter masked the fact that they turned the ball over way too many times in this series.
Turnovers have been their downfall before and time-and-time again against Memphis, Golden State would have these careless turnovers that really were not because of the Grizzlies’ intensity on defense.
Not to take away from Memphis on the defensive-end of the floor in this series, as they played really well, but many of the turnovers the Warriors had were because of a lack of communication, a bad pass or simply trying to speed things up instead of playing at their tempo.
Heading into the Western Conference Finals, whether they play Phoenix or Dallas, the Warriors are going to have to really cut back on their turnovers because the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are two of the Top-5 defensive teams in this league.
Scoring against them is hard as it is and Golden State will only make life tougher for themselves if they continue to give the ball away.
Against the Grizzlies in this series, the Warriors turned the ball over a total of 107 times, an average of 17.8 times per game.
This is an insane amount of turnovers and for a championship-caliber team like the Warriors, this is definitely concerning. Valuing each possession and playing to their level of skill is what Golden State needs to do, against any opponent, in order to win another title.
If they continue, these careless mistakes and turnovers will be their downfall.
Andrew Wiggins Is Golden State’s “X-Factor”
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole and Draymond Green get all the attention, but what many people tend to forget is that the Warriors have an All-Star out on the wing.
Andrew Wiggins can be very quiet and dormant at times on the basketball court, but when he gets going, he is the difference for the Golden State Warriors in this league.
The fourth All-Star on their roster, Wiggins had a career-year scoring and shooting the basketball and his contribution in Game 6 on Friday definitely have not gone unnoticed.
Scoring 18 points, 15 of which came in the second-half, and grabbing 11 rebounds, Wiggins’ aggressiveness on both ends of the court really gave the Warriors a jolt of energy when things were beginning to get out of hand.
Perhaps the biggest impact Wiggins had though was defensively, as the All-Star forward had 1 steal and 3 blocks against the Grizzlies in Game 6.
Again, he is not the best player on the floor and will not always put up All-Star-like numbers, but Andrew Wiggins plays to his strengths and always brings an All-Star presence with him to every game.
His confidence and athleticism allows him to play against and guard any position in this league, which is why he is the key to the Warriors winning another title.
Memphis Has The Brightest Future In The NBA
If there is one big takeaway from this series against the Warriors for the Grizzlies, it is that they are going to be a force in this league for a long-time to come.
Ja Morant is a superstar point guard at just 22-years-old, Desmond Bane is a high-level scoring option at 23-years-old and Dillon Brooks has proven that he can be a two-way factor at 26-years-old.
Throw in Jaren Jackson Jr. being 22 and the team having a ton of other young talents and all of a sudden, the Grizzlies look like a team that could reach the NBA Finals in the next five seasons, assuming they all stay healthy!
The key to this team heading into the offseason though will be figuring out their cap numbers in order to sustain long-term success.
2021-22 NBA Executive of the Year Zach Kleiman has done a fantastic job reassembling this roster over the last couple of seasons and he will have some big decisions to make regarding Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones, both of which will be free agents in the offseason.
While they hung in there with the Warriors in this series, it still seems like Memphis is one piece away from being the best team in the league, which is why this offseason will be critical for them to add said piece.
As long as they have Ja Morant and their young, growing talents though, the Grizzlies are going to be a problem in the NBA for a long-time to come.
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- Here’s What Klay Thompson Said After Game 6: Klay Thomson met with the media after the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the second-round of the playoffs. CLICK HERE.