Deep-shooting Warriors reach first conference finals since 1976 by eliminating Grizzlies

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Stephen Curry is the NBA’s best shooter, maybe ever. He broke his own single-season 3-pointer record this year, and it’d be surprising if he doesn’t break it again. More than anything, that outside shooting made him MVP.

His range seems limitless.

Yet, he’d never made a shot longer from farther 43 feet in the NBA.

In the final moments of the third quarter in Game 6 against the Grizzlies on Friday, Curry picked up the loose ball and fired a 62-footer.

Swish.

Curry and the Warriors are going further than they’ve been in years –  a 108-95  win over Memphis sending them to their first conference finals since 1976.

Golden State will host the Rockets or Clippers – who meet in a Game 7 Sunday – in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Curry, who scored 32 points on 8-of-13 3-point shooting and dished 10 assists.

The Warriors got off to a sizzling start, making 11 of their first 14 shots – including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc – to take a quick 15-point lead. The Grizzlies never led, but they cut the deficit to one in the third quarter.

Then, Curry’s long 3 helped Golden State extend its lead back to 15.

“There was a lot of – ‘Big Mo’ we call it – to end that quarter and keep the momentum on our side,” Curry said.

Momentum is definitely with the Warriors. After trailing Memphis 2-1, they won three straight to take the series in six games.

And as far as six-game series go, this was decisive. The Grizzlies won their two games by 7 and 10. Golden State’s wins came by 13, 15, 17 and 19.

This series shouldn’t take away from the Grizzlies’ fine season. They were good enough to advance further under better circumstances. Instead, facing the NBA’s best team, most of the breaks went against them.

Marc Gasol (21 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and five blocks) was exhausted by the time he checked out late in the fourth quarter – perhaps for the final time with Memphis, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Mike Conley played 39 minutes despite being banged up even beyond his facial injury. A hurting Tony Allen struggled through five first-half minutes and didn’t play in the second half.

It’s impressive Memphis kept up with Curry, Klay Thompson (20 points), Draymond Green (16 rebounds) and the deep Warriors as long as it did.

After the game, Vince Carter hung around even longer. Carter – who played with Stephen’s dad, Dell Curry, on the Raptors –waited until Curry finished his on-court interview and then hugged the Golden State star.

“You got this far, man,” Carter said. “Keep it going.”