SAN FRANCISCO Stephen Curry threw the mouthpiece into the seats in desperation and scolded himself for the unexpected episode at the end of the game.
And the Golden State Warriors still pulled off a wild game against nemesis the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jordan Pool made the game-winning shot with a second to go in a crazy last-minute back and forth game, and the Warriors fought back to beat Ja Morant and Memphis 122-120 on Wednesday night.
“Incredible, intoxicating performance by Jordan,” said Klay Thompson.
Curry beat Morant to 34 points before being eliminated with 1:14 left in another thrilling game between rivals who played last year in the Western Conference semi-finals, won by the Warriors in six games.
Curry hit a tied jumper with 2:18 left and made three free throws at 1:55. He was not at the finish line after he fired his mouthpiece into the stands. Crew chief Sean Wright confirmed to a pool reporter: “Stephen Curry takes his mouthpiece and throws it into the stands with force, usually an automatic release.”
“He knows he can’t make that mistake,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Winning the game after Steph’s bailout was great. I liked the performance in the end.”
Curry was in the hallway after that, eager to greet Poole with a celebratory hug. Pool launched a 30-foot ball with the shot clock almost full and Curry open, and Curry didn’t like it.
Curry said that as the season progressed, “there was a heightened sense of urgency about how important every detail is.”
“The way we reacted after that shows how important this is to us,” Curry said.
Brandon Clark made a tying dunk with 6.3 seconds left in Memphis after Morant’s pass from Thompson’s 14.6-second three-pointer to give the Warriors the lead. Thompson then missed a hurried baseline jumper five seconds into play, but Golden State kicked the ball out of bounds.
Morant had 29 points and 12 assists after missing the game with an ankle injury. He converted a pair of free throws with 26.6 seconds left to give Memphis the lead ahead of Thompson’s big three.
Desmond Bain added 20 points to the Grizzlies to ease the pain of losing hardy big man Steven Adams for the foreseeable future to a knee injury.
Morant, who missed Monday night’s loss to Sacramento with a sore left ankle, found Clark on an alley layup and three-point play with 4:10 remaining, after which Curry and Pool scored back-to-back layups.
Thompson added 24 points, and his 3 points with 3:38 left in Game 3 put the Warriors 81–79. Curry then converted a four-point tie with 2:27 left in the period after falling to the courtside seats.
The Warriors lost four home games in a row after starting the season 17-2 at the Chase Center.
Jonathan Cuminga joined Golden State with an ailing Andrew Wiggins. At the end of the first half, Kuminga drove down the lane with a flashy left-hander and knocked down a three-pointer a few possessions later. As a result, he scored 13 points.
Pool finished with 21 points and seven assists as the Warriors swept the Grizzlies again after a 123–109 win at Christmas. The Grizzlies lost a season-high four times in a row to start this season’s five-game trip to the West Coast.
“It’s a long season. I don’t think too many people are too excited,” Bain said.
Draymond Green, who called that last game out of bounds for the Pool winner, was whistled for his 14th technical foul of the season, putting him two seconds away from an automatic one-game suspension.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins will mix and match lineups and substitutions without Adams, who is expected to miss three to five weeks with a right knee sprain he injured Sunday in Phoenix.
“We will definitely miss Stevo, he does so much for us, every little thing to make a difference,” Jenkins said. “We just need other guys to raise our level in these departments. Obviously we’re fighting on both ends of the floor right now, we just need to find our rhythm, that’s the mentality of the next player.”
Grizzlies: F Danny Green is set to make his season debut on Feb. 1 at home against Portland as he returns from surgery on his left knee. “That’s the plan for now,” Jenkins said. This week Green will have to practice a bit and work with the G League Memphis Hustle. … Jaren Jackson Jr. committed a foul with 2:33 left. … Memphis will host the defending champions in the last two meetings: March 9 and 18.
Warriors: Kerr learned Wednesday morning that Wiggins was ill and Kuminga had earned his sixth start. … Curry scored 21,000 career points. Just 59 seconds into the game, he committed two fouls.
Grizzlies: In Minnesota Friday night.
Warriors: Take on Toronto Friday night. ___
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