NBA playoffs

Warriors outlast Ja Morant, Grizzlies to steal Game 1

Warriors outlast Ja Morant, Grizzlies to steal Game 1

THRILLER. Grizzlies hotshot Ja Morant swipes the ball from Warriors star Steph Curry.

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Steph Curry and the Warriors rally from a double-digit deficit to pull off a one-point escape against the gritty Grizzlies

Jordan Poole fired 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting, Stephen Curry finished with 24 points, and the visiting Golden State Warriors held on for a 117-116 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Sunday afternoon, May 1 (Monday, May 2, Manila time).

Poole and Curry drained five three-pointers apiece as the Warriors recovered from a double-digit deficit in the first half as well as the surprise ejection of veteran forward Draymond Green. Andrew Wiggins finished with 17 points, and Klay Thompson scored 15 despite making only six of 19 shots from the field.

Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 34 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. contributed 33 points and 10 rebounds, while De’Anthony Melton scored 14 off the bench.

The teams will meet for Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Neither team led by more than four points during the final five minutes, which featured four ties and two lead changes.

Golden State’s Gary Payton II made a layup to even the score at 114-114 with 1:35 remaining. Memphis quickly bounced back with an alley-oop dunk by Clarke that made it 116-114 in favor of the Grizzlies with 1:16 to go.

Thompson put Golden State on top for good on a three-pointer with 36.6 seconds remaining.

Neither team scored the rest of the way. Thompson missed a pair of free throws that could have cushioned the Warriors’ lead, and Morant missed a driving scoop layup in the waning moments that could have won the game.

Green was ejected with 1:18 remaining in the first half for a flagrant 2 foul against Brandon Clarke. Replays showed that Green made contact with Clarke’s head while swiping down with his arm, and he grabbed Clarke’s collar during the process.

After the flagrant 2 ruling, Green ran around the court and waved his hands at the opposing crowd as boos rained down upon him. He finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 17 minutes.

The Warriors finished the third quarter with a 91-90 advantage.

Golden State trailed 66-61 when Curry went off for seven consecutive points to put the Warriors on top, 68-66. 

Curry drained a pair of step-back jump shots and a three-pointer as Memphis battled to keep pace.

Memphis led 61-55 at the half.