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Warriors Make A Comeback Against Memphis, Curry Throws Mouthpiece Hitting A Fan

Warriors' Stephan Curry (Photo: NBA)

With Golden State holding a narrow two-point lead over Memphis with 1:14 remaining on Wednesday night, Stephen Curry expressed his frustration with teammate Jordan Poole after what he deemed an ill-advised 3-point attempt.

As Curry ran back on defense, he removed his mouthpiece and threw it in frustration. The mouthpiece bounced off the court and landed near the courtside seats, resulting in an automatic ejection.

“It was a crucial time in the game, and given how our season has gone, there’s a heightened sense of urgency … when you want something really bad … I reacted in a way that put myself out of the game and put the team in a tough place,” Curry said after the Warriors secured a dramatic 122-120 victory.

This marked Curry’s third career ejection, all related to his mouthpiece. His first came during Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals, when he threw his mouthguard into the crowd, hitting a fan.

The second occurred in 2017 against the Memphis Grizzlies, when he threw his mouthpiece at a referee.

Despite not hitting anyone on Wednesday, Curry still faced automatic ejection as confirmed by crew chief Sean Wright: “Stephen Curry takes his mouth piece and throws it into the stands with force, as per rule, that is an automatic ejection.”

Curry ended the night with a game-high 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc, and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. With 4:25 left in the game, Curry narrowed the Warriors’ deficit to four points with a 26-foot 3-pointer over Ja Morant

He tied the game with a long 2-pointer over Morant about two minutes later, and after a crucial defensive stop, hit three free throws. Curry was ejected shortly thereafter.

Despite losing their star player, the Warriors managed to secure the win. “This is a big win for us for a multitude of reasons,” Draymond Green said, emphasizing the heightened competitiveness between the two teams.

“I think [the Grizzlies] bring out a different competitive side in us and we do the same for them. Both teams rise up for this game; it’s a fun one to play every time.”

The game was far from smooth, particularly in the first half, with the Warriors committing 11 fouls and 14 turnovers—the most in any half at home this season.

Stephan Cavaliers Hits A Fan With Mouthpiece (Photo: NBA)

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies struggled offensively, shooting only 41.7% from the field and 25% from three-point range. However, momentum shifted towards the end of the second quarter, sparking chippiness between the teams.

As they headed to the locker room at halftime, Curry, Klay Thompson, and Poole exchanged words with Memphis players. In the third quarter, Green and Brandon Clarke each received technical fouls.

This game added another chapter to the budding rivalry between the Warriors and the Grizzlies. Though neither team considers it a full-fledged rivalry yet, their recent playoff series and intense matchups hint at its potential.

The Grizzlies tied the game with 6.1 seconds left on a dunk by Clarke. On the next possession, the Warriors aimed to get the ball to Thompson, who had hit a 28-foot 3-pointer moments earlier. However, Thompson missed his shot, and the ball deflected off the Grizzlies, giving the Warriors another chance.

Green quickly devised a play for Golden State. “I was trying to think of something they hadn’t seen that could give us some space,” Green said. Donte DiVincenzo held the ball, initially watching Thompson and Anthony Lamb move to the left, while Poole cut towards the hoop.

DiVincenzo and Poole made eye contact, leading to a pass and a reverse layup by Poole, putting the Warriors up by two with 2.3 seconds remaining. It was Poole’s first go-ahead field goal in the final 10 seconds of a game.

“[It was] fire,” Poole said. “It was pretty dope. … We’re getting a lot of experience with close games in the regular season, and that will definitely help us down the road.”

The Warriors have had numerous games decided in clutch time this season but have struggled, holding a 12-13 record in such scenarios, ranking 18th in the NBA. This week alone, they lost two games after surrendering double-digit leads in the second half.

The primary issue has been execution, but against the Grizzlies, particularly after Curry’s ejection, the Warriors managed to execute effectively, especially their out-of-bounds play.

“We needed this win in a desperate way,” Curry said. “Not just because it was Memphis and all of the narratives there, but because of how we are playing. … To see the guys bounce back the way they did and finish the job, there were a lot of celebrations in the tunnel.”

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