Warriors observations: Steph Curry's 46 points clinch No. 8 seed

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What we learned as Steph drops 46, Dubs clinch No. 8 seed originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It's been a while since the Warriors had to play meaningful games so late in the season. It's been even longer since their position in the standings -- and therefore their spot in the postseason -- was decided by the last game of the regular season. 

But it all came down to Sunday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. And within that game, it came down to the final minutes.

And, with their 113-101 win, the Warriors have officially clinched the No. 8 seed in the West. 

Sunday's game showed all of the sides to who the Warriors have been all season. They started sloppily, but found their stride. The third period felt like an old-school Warriors' third quarter, putting their foot to the pedal to pull away. But they couldn't make it easy on themselves, allowing the Grizzlies to work their way back and tie the game midway through the fourth. 

It showed the growth the Warriors have had since the start of the year -- a few months ago they couldn't close out a close game. They've done it several times in the last week, including Sunday.

After struggling to survive the non-Curry minutes just a few months ago, the Warriors got contributions throughout the rotation. 

Unsurprisingly, Steph Curry registered another 40-point game, finishing with 46 points on 16-of-36 shooting, including nine three-pointers. Andrew Wiggins continued his recent tear, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds. Two other Warriors finished in double-figures, and all but one player scored at least two points.

It also highlighted the Warriors' identity as a defensive-minded team. Once they figured out how to compete on that end of the court, everything else fell in place. 

It was a game that proved the very reason why they believe teams don't want to face them in the play-in tournament, or in the playoffs.

Who the Warriors will face in the play-in tournament is yet to be determined (Lakers or Trail Blazers), but if they win that game, the Warriors will have a spot in the playoffs.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State's final game of the regular season:

The Steph Show -- scoring title edition

Steph Curry needed just three points on Sunday to snatch the 2020-21 season scoring title. He did that, and then some.

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The 36 shot attempts he took are a new career-high for attempts in a single game. And his 46 points put him at 32 points per game this season.

Of course, Curry did it in the most Curry way possible, chucking up shots you shake your head at until they swish through the hoop, including multiple daggers to close out the game.

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This is the second time in Curry's career that he's won a season scoring title, and became just the second player in NBA history to win the scoring title after 33. The other guy to do it? Michael Jordan. 

Curry also joined another exclusive list -- one of just four players (Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Wilt Chamberlain) to have multiple NBA championships, MVPs, and scoring titles on his resume.

Draymond Green likes big games

Draymond Green is the first person to tell you it's easy for him to get going in important games. He thrives in situations that hold extra importance.

For the first time in five years, the Warriors were playing an extremely meaningful game late in the season. In fact, Sunday's matinee was their most important game of the season. And Green showed up. Early on, he was the driving force for the Warriors' energy as his teammates found their groove and aggression.

He had a quintessential Green game, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and one steal all while being the Warriors' defensive anchors.

It's been said multiple times that Golden State doesn't need Green to score to be successful. But at the same time, they are so much better when does a little bit of everything, as was evident on Sunday.

RELATED: Steph dances on Grizzlies after deep 3-pointer

 

Production from top to bottom

There was a feeling within the Warriors that resting Curry, Green and Wiggins against the Pelicans earlier in the week would not only allow their stars to rest but would also give Golden State's bench players a chance to find an increased rhythm, confidence and chemistry. That was all on display against Memphis on Sunday. 

Juan Toscano-Anderson was +13 in the first half before finishing the day with nine points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals. He, and Jordan Poole who added nine first-half points and 15 in the game on 5-of-9 shooting, allowed the Warriors to outscore the Grizzlies 10-2 at the start of the second quarter and enter halftime with a six-point lead. 

The production from players such as Toscano-Anderson and Poole -- who have both grown in confidence and comfortability playing alongside Green and Curry -- should be considered two of the greatest accomplishments made by the Warriors this season.

Meanwhile, the Warriors' three-headed dog of Curry, Wiggins and Green returned and looked exactly how you'd want them to after getting to rest their legs for an extra day and heading into the postseason.

Bring on the play-in.

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