Klay Thompson made a go-ahead three-pointer with 36 seconds left, and the Golden State Warriors overcame Draymond Green’s first-half ejection to edge the Grizzlies 117-116 on Sunday in Memphis during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Jordan Poole led the Warriors with 31 points off the bench, making five of 10 three-pointers. Stephen Curry added 24 points, Andrew Wiggins had 17 and Thompson finished with 15.
Green was ejected for a flagrant foul just before halftime.
Thompson missed both free throws with 6.7 seconds left, then Memphis won a jump ball before taking a timeout with 3.6 seconds remaining to set up the final play. The Grizzlies ran a play similar to Ja Morant’s last-second layup to win Game 5 in their first-round series, but Morant’s layup went over the rim.
Morant finished with 34 points and 10 assists while Jaren Jackson Jr. matched his season high with six three-pointers and had a career-high 33 points as Memphis’ first pair of teammates to score at least 30 in a playoff game. D’Anthony Melton added 14 points, and Brandon Clarke had 12.
The Grizzlies finished their first-round series by coming back from double-digit deficits in their final three wins — the first team in NBA history to do that more than once in a postseason, let alone a series. They came in leading the NBA in the fourth with an average of 33 points and outscoring opponents by 10.3 points a game.
This time, they could only match the Warriors point for point in the quarter.
Memphis edged the Warriors for the No. 2 seed in the West by tying the franchise record with 56 wins, and the Grizzlies took three of four in their season series. Thompson only played one of those game, Green two and Curry three.
This was a rematch with role reversals from the 2015 semifinal the Warriors won as the younger team with Memphis led by experienced veterans. This also was just the first time the Warriors started a conference semifinal on the road and third playoff series Golden State didn’t start at home with Steve Kerr as coach.
The Warriors mixed up their lineup, benching Poole in favor of Gary Payton II to focus on defending Morant, the Grizzlies’ All-Star point guard and the NBA’s most improved player this season.
Morant opened the game with back-to-back threes, half of what he made the entire first round against Minnesota, and he had 14 to help the Grizzlies lead 32-24 after the first quarter. It marked the first time Memphis held an opponent to fewer than 30 points this postseason.
The Grizzlies led by as much as 13 in the second quarter and were up 61-55 at halftime.
With 1:18 left in the second, Green fouled Brandon Clarke. Officials reviewed the play for several minutes with fans chanting, “Throw him out!” Green finished with six points, four rebounds and five turnovers.
Curry was held to eight points in the first quarter, none in the second and picked up his third foul seconds after Green’s ejection.
Curry scored 13 and Poole had 10 in the third quarter as the Warriors outscored Memphis 36-29 and led 91-90 after entering the fourth. Golden State was 14 of 21 shooting in the third, including five of seven beyond the arc.