Golden State offensive flurry overwhelms Memphis; Morant injures knee

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Golden State Warriors rediscovered their shooting touch Saturday night, overwhelming the Memphis defense from both the inside and outside, rolling to a 142-112 victory and a 2-1 lead in the NBA Western Conference semifinals.

After shooting just 18 percent from the 3-point line in their Game 2 loss, Golden State shot 53 percent from deep and 63 percent overcall in the win.

While it was a stinging defeat for the Grizzlies, of greater concern, was the sight of their star Ja Morant limping off the court with 6:17 left in the game, holding his left knee.

Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins had swarmed Morant as he dribbled at the top of the 3-point arc when Morant struggled to keep possession — and Poole called it a basketball play with him going for the ball.

“Obviously, you don’t want to see anybody get hurt, I’m not even that type of player,”  Pool said. “I respect everybody.”

Before the injury, Morant was dazzling again, scoring 34 points on a variety of gravity defying shots and a buzzer beater from half court at the end of the first half.  But he got little help from his teammates.

Meanwhile, the Warriors three-headed outside shooting threat of  Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Jordan Poole were in synch all night. 

Curry scored 30 points, Poole added 27 and Thompson chipped in 21 points including back-to-back, catch-and-shoot 3 pointers to open the second half to push the lead to 15 points. 

The Warriors never looked back.

The Grizzlies had come out blazing, rolling to a 12-point lead early in the first quarter before the Warriors offense finally woke up and pulled to within 28-26 by the end of the quarter.

“We were just too frenetic to start off the game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.  

Riding a wave hot shooting, Golden State gain momentum in the second quarter, grabbing  a 64-57 halftime lead. The only real hiccup was Morant’s half-court shot at the buzzer.

For the half, the Warriors shot 70 percent from the field and 60 percent from the 3-point line. Andrew Wiggins had 15 points, Curry scored 13 and Thompson 9. 

Still bothered by Dillon Brooks’ hard foul in Game 2 that sidelined Gary Payton II, Draymond Green and Golden State kept cool from the opening tip — methodically running away with it. Instead, Memphis forward Kyle Anderson got ejected with 6:19 left for arguing an offensive foul.

Brooks was suspended for his Flagrant 2 foul in the first quarter Tuesday when he pounded the head of a driving Payton, who landed awkwardly and fractured his left elbow. He will be sidelined indefinitely, also with ligament and muscle damage.

In Payton’s place,  Kerr started 19-year-old rookie Jonathan Kuminga, who responded by scoring 18 points in 17 minutes of play.

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