Looney pulls down 22 rebounds as Warriors clinch series against Grizzlies
Kevon Looney became the first Warriors player in 35 years to record 22 boards in a single playoff game in Friday’s 110-96 win.
The Golden State Warriors booked their trip to the Western Conference Finals with a 110-96 win in Game 6 of their series against the Memphis Grizzlies, advancing with a 4-2 margin. It wasn’t the prettiest game to watch, there were a staggering 70 rebounds in total, but the Dubs did exactly what they needed to on the night and will make their first appearance in the finals since 2019, where they will face either the Phoenix Suns or the Dallas Mavericks.
Without Ja Morant at the Chase Center, the Grizzlies remained competitive through three quarters, before a 32-19 final frame for the Warriors put the game to bed. While most Warriors players rose to the occasion, none played better than Klay Thompson, who lived up to his glittering reputation in Game 6s with 30 points, shooting 11-of-22 from the field and eight-of-14 from long range. He modestly said afterwards, “It’s something that just comes naturally. I don’t go to sleep thinking I’ll score 30 or shoot the ball well I was just thinking about how far I’ve come and how grateful I am to have another closeout game at Chase. Luckily it was one of my nights. Let’s carry this momentum into the WCF. Being one of the final four teams, it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe, it’s truly amazing and just inspires me to keep going because I think we still have great basketball ahead of us”.
Stephen Curry added 29 points on 10-of-27 shooting, adding seven rebounds and five assists, while Andrew Wiggins was strong on both ends, scoring 18 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking three shots.
Kevon Looney also deserves a a special mention. After being bullied on the interior in Game 5, Looney was reinstated into the rotation, replacing rookie Jonathan Kuminga and grabbed a sensational game-high 22 rebounds in 35 minutes, while Draymond Green had 14 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists.
Warriors associate coach Mike Brown, standing in for Steve Kerr who tested positive for Covid-19, heaped praise on the players afterwards, telling reporters“There are a lot of games in which you can take a coin, flip it up and it can go either way. My hat goes off to Taylor [Jenkins] and his group, the players as well as the organisation because they’re going to be around for a long time. Next, Loon... what a game! holy moly, 22 boards!? I don’t remember the last time somebody had 22 boards. It’s fantastic. I think what’s more impressive than the 22 boards is that I think I ran him 17 straight minutes! And I kept looking at him, because after the first five he looked like he was dying! Then the next two, he looked like he was worse - every minute after that, I was saying, ‘Loon, hold on’ and he did. Klay? You guys have been around here a while, you know how Klay is with Game 6s... What a time to step up! He was fantastic. Not only, you know, you look at his shooting - he had eight boards, and that was one of the things we stressed - our guards have got to rebound. He not only shot 30, shooting 11 for 22, but he chased [Desmond] Bane around all night. That’s no easy task. Draymond with his 16, Wigg with his 10, Klay with his eight, then obviously Loon with his 22 - that is remarkable against a team of that size and that athleticism”.