Warriors move within win of conference finals 

click to enlarge Warriors star Stephen Curry celebrates during the first half of Game 5 against the Grizzlies on Wednesday. - BEN MARGOT/AP
  • Ben Margot/AP
  • Warriors star Stephen Curry celebrates during the first half of Game 5 against the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
OAKLAND — Before Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger made clear his intentions to bottle up or limit Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry from long distance:

“You don’t want to say you live with [them] making 3s,” Joerger said. “You just hope it’s not 12 between the two of them.”

The mission was almost accomplished, but hopes ultimately were dashed by the 3-pointer, specifically those by Curry, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

The Splash Brothers had nine 3-pointers between them, and the Warriors overcame a 13-point, first-quarter deficit en route to a 98-78 victory at Oracle Arena on Wednesday.

The Warriors can close out the series in Memphis on Friday.

Curry finished with 18 points, including four crucial 3-pointers in the first quarter, while Thompson added 21 more.

“The first 10 minutes were not pretty,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “The crowd was anxious. I thought we were a little tight, came out a little nervous. We settled in there. That was the key stretch of the game. It was a miracle we had the lead after the first quarter.”

Indeed, from the outset, the Grizzlies had control and picked up where they left off in Game 2 eight days ago. Zach Randolph made his first four shots for nine of Memphis’ first 11 points. He also single-handedly outrebounded the home team 7-6 in the opening 11 minutes, as the Warriors fell behind 23-10 with 3:26 left in the quarter.

That set the stage for Curry’s early heroics.

The Warriors trailed 13-4 when Curry knocked down his first triple of the game. Then he added three more treys in three minutes, including a razzle-dazzle dribble between his legs followed by a 3-pointer over Beno Udrih that gave his team a 26-25 lead with two seconds left in the quarter.

The Warriors never looked back the rest of the way.

Andre Iguodala played a key role with 16 points off the bench, while Harrison Barnes added 14 more. Marc Gasol paced the losers with 18 points and a dozen rebounds.

Now the Warriors are one victory away from the conference finals.

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Jack Ross

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