Stephen Curry ejected for throwing mouthpiece, the third time in NBA career

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored a game-high 34 points in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in San Francisco. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored a game-high 34 points in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in San Francisco. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Stephen Curry was ejected for throwing his mouthpiece -- for the third time in his career -- at the most crucial time of his latest game, but his Golden State Warriors still managed to rally past the Memphis Grizzlies.

The mouthpiece throwing occurred with about 74 seconds remaining in what became a 122-120 victory Wednesday at Chase Center in San Francisco. Curry scored a game-high 34 points, including 21 in the second half, before his departure.


"He knows he can't make that mistake,'' Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. ''To win the game after the Steph ejection was great. I liked the execution down the stretch.''

The Warriors led 116-114 at the time of Curry's ejection. Fellow sharpshooter Klay Thompson missed a pull-up jump shot at the start of the sequence. Guard Donte DiVincenzo then grabbed an offensive rebound to extend the possession.


Curry eventually gained control of the ball. He then darted toward the rim before he threw a pass and ran back to the top of the 3-point arc.

Warriors guard Jordan Poole caught a pass while about five feet away from Curry. Poole, who didn't appear to see Curry, then launched a long 3-point attempt, which missed. Curry responded by clapping in frustration before he headed back to defend.

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The Warriors star proceeded to put his right hand in his mouth to pull out his mouthpiece. He then threw the mouthpiece, which ricocheted off the court and flew toward the crowd.

Curry was immediately ejected for the infraction. He told reporters after the game that he "let his emotions get the best of him."

"It was a crucial time in the game, and the way that our season has gone, there are questions about a heightened sense of urgency and every detail matters," Curry said. "When you want something really bad and just getting a win...all that stuff does matter.


"I reacted in a way that obviously put myself out of the game and put the team in a tough place."

Wednesday's game featured 24 lead changes and was tied 18 times. The Warriors trailed by as many as 10 points. Thompson and Poole scored seven and six points, respectively, over the first 12 minutes to help the Warriors take a 24-22 edge into the second quarter.

Star guard Ja Moran then scored 11 in the second to help the Grizzlies take a 54-53 lead at halftime. Fellow guard Desmond Bane scored 13 in the third, with Morant adding 10, to help the Grizzlies outscore the Warriors 42-37 in the third quarter.

The Warriors outscored the Grizzlies 32-24 down the stretch to seal the victory. Poole scored 13 over the final 12 minutes. The Warriors trailed by 10 points with about six minutes remaining. They then outscored the Grizzlies 17-4 over the next four minutes to take a 3-point edge.

Bane made a free throw to cut the deficit to two points before Curry was ejected on the Warriors' next possession. Morant tied the score on the next possession.


Morant went on to make two free throws with 26.6 seconds remaining to give the Warriors a one-point edge. Thompson hit a 3-pointer about 12 seconds later, but Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke answered with game-tying dunk. Poole then won the game with a layup with 2.4 seconds remaining.

Poole totaled 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the win. He joked with Curry after the game by throwing his mouthpiece when the two embraced in a Chase Center tunnel.

Thompson made five 3-pointers and totaled 24 points. Morant logged 29 points and 12 assists in the loss. Bane chipped in 20 points for the Grizzlies.

Curry, who is averaging 29.3 points per game this season, was first ejected for a mouthpiece throw in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals. He was ejected for the same infraction in a 2017 game against the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies (31-17) will face the Minnesota Timberwolves (25-25) at 7:30 p.m. EST Friday at Target Center in Minneapolis. The Warriors (24-24) will host the Toronto Raptors (22-27) at 10 p.m. Friday at Chase Center.


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