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Golden State Warriors retire late, eliminate Grizzlies in Game 6

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Andrew Wiggins gave Golden State the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 6:29 left and the Warriors earned a sixth trip to the Western Conference Finals in the past eight years with a 110-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday in Game 6 of their first-round series at San Francisco.

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Klay Thompson had a 30-point draw, Stephen Curry added 29 and Kevon Looney led a dominating effort on the boards with a career-high 22 rebounds for the third-seeded Warriors, who managed to rebound after a 39-point shellacking in Game 5 at Memphis.

The Warriors, who won three championships between 2015 and 2018 but missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons, will face top-seeded Phoenix or fourth-seeded Dallas in the Western Finals. The Suns host the Mavericks in a deciding Game 7 on Sunday.

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“I know it’s become routine, but it’s a very special activity,” Thompson said of his appearance in the conference finals. “We don’t take this lightly. It’s so special. I’m going to enjoy it tonight and I’m going to be hungry when the time comes.

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After neither team led by more than nine points in the tightly contested first three quarters, the teams traded leads three times and shuffled in a pair of deuces before Wiggins buried his go-ahead 3-pointer for a 90-89 advantage.

Wiggins then added a dunk, Curry a 3-pointer and Draymond Green a dunk on an assist from Looney as Golden State scored the next seven points to go up 97-89 with 5:04 remaining.

The second-seeded Grizzlies, who effectively lost home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series with a Game 1 home loss, did not come closer to seven after that.

“Congratulations to the Warriors,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “A hell of a streak. Very competitive for six games. … It obviously stings. Such a special season with a special group. I want them to cherish that and remember that despite the loss and the end of the season right now. It will motivate us.”

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Thompson’s 30 points came on 11 of 22 shooting, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range. Curry made 10 of 27 shots and six of 17 3-point attempts. They combined for 14 of Golden State’s 20 3-pointers, as the Warriors outshot the Ja Morant-less Grizzlies 60-45 from beyond the arc.

Wiggins finished with 18 points and Jordan Poole had 12 for Golden State. Green dished out eight assists to complete a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Golden State overcame 19 turnovers as they edged Memphis 70-44, including 25-10 on the offensive boards. Half of Looney’s 22 rebounds, eight more than he had ever recorded before in a playoff game and four more than he had ever had in a regular season game, came from the offensive end.

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“Kevon was so big,” Thompson said. “This team was so physical there. Kevon knows just where to be. He’s great at the rim. He is a Warrior for life. It’s just a pleasure to play with him.

Wiggins was a third warrior with double-digit rebounds, grabbing 11 to complete the team’s second double-double.

Memphis’ Dillon Brooks, who served a suspension one game earlier for a flagrant foul that eliminated Gary Payton II from the series, tied Thompson for game honors with 30 points. He made 7 of 15 long range attempts.

Desmond Bane buried four 3-pointers on a 25-point night for the Grizzlies, while Jaren Jackson Jr. added 12 points and four blocks. Steven Adams recorded a team-high 10 rebounds, and Tyus Jones had seven points, eight assists and nine rebounds.

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