September 30, 2022

The Golden State Warriors are one win away from continuing their dynasty with another championship following their 104-94 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. Just two seasons ago, the Warriors finished with the worst record in the Western Conference at 15-50 and they are now on the cusp of their fourth title since 2015.

While Stephen Curry had carried the team to this point, the Warriors provided plenty of help in Game 5 as four other players besides Curry – led by Andrew Wiggins and his 26 points – scored at double digits for Golden State. Providing help to Curry on the offensive end was something all of the Warriors supporting players mentioned as essential in Game 5 and they did so to help lead Golden State to a double-digit win.

With the win, Curry and the Warriors can close out this series at Boston’s TD Garden on Thursday night in Game 6.

Wiggins and company lead the way

We were bound to have a bad game from Curry at some point, and when that happened attention turned to which of the Warriors players would take over. Given how much Golden State relied on Curry’s brilliance in the first four games of the series, no one could have predicted he would win the game in which he scored just 16 points and failed to hit a 3-pointer for the first. time in 233 games (more details below). But here we are, the Warriors have a 3-2 lead in this series against the Celtics and it’s thanks to the outstanding performance of their role players, but especially Wiggins.

After being an absolute force on the glass in Game 4 to help the Warriors win, Wiggins followed that performance up with an even better performance: 26 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was the main reason Golden State won Monday night, getting everything they wanted on offense and disrupting on the other end of the court. His really came alive in the fourth quarter where he scored 10 of his 26 points to push what was a one-point lead late in the third quarter to a 10-point lead by the end of the game.

While Wiggins led the snake in Golden State’s offense in Game 5, he wasn’t the only player to take over amid Curry’s unusual play. Thompson has his best performance of the series by far, going 5 of 11 from downtown and being the only Warriors starter to connect on a 3-pointer. In the last two games leading up to this one, it seemed like he was taking small steps towards returning to the precision forward we expected of him, and in Game 5 he delivered when the Warriors had need him most.

The bench was also a huge advantage for the Warriors on Monday night. Golden State’s second unit beat Boston 31-10, with Jordan Poole and Gary Payton accounting for 29 of those points. Poole’s massive 35-foot lift late in the third quarter is what sparked Golden State’s dominating performance in the fourth quarter. It was a complete team effort for the Warriors in Game 5, and it was badly needed with Curry having a night off.

The Celtics’ mistakes outweigh them

Although the Warriors seemed to be the superior team for most of this game, in the third quarter the Celtics started to look like the team that won Games 1 and 3 of this series. Offense was getting easy and defense was forcing the Warriors into shoddy looks. As a result, Boston used a 10-0 run to open the third quarter to take its first lead of the night with 6:27 left. It looked like the Celtics had the ability to steal that win as they held a slim two-point lead with three seconds left in the third quarter.

But then it happened:

Poole single-handedly sucked the life out of the Celtics with that shot to end the third quarter. That gave the Warriors a one-point lead going into the final 12 minutes of the game, and Golden State never gave up the lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Celtics turned the ball over four times, shot 26.7% from the field and 25% from deep. This has been one of the lingering issues plaguing the Celtics throughout the playoffs. They sometimes struggled to generate offense in the fourth quarter, especially when the game was tight. It happened in Game 4, where the Warriors beat the Celtics 15-0 in record time (last five minutes of the game), and again on Monday night Boston looked in bad shape.

That’s not to say this game was lost in the fourth quarter, as Boston struggled mightily in the first half as well, committing nine turnovers in the first two quarters. However, they came back into that game in the third quarter and then completely squandered a golden opportunity to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals. I know this team is young, but you can’t let that Poole shot completely derail your game, especially not with a championship on the line.

The historic curry streak comes to an end

Going into Game 5, Curry had hit a 3-pointer in each of his 132 career playoff games. He also connected on a 3-pointer in 233 consecutive games, including the regular season and the playoffs. You’d think Curry making a single 3-pointer would be a safe bet given those numbers, but that streak ended in Game 5. Curry went 0 for 9 from long range on Monday night, snapping his game streak consecutive with one made 3 points and ended his perfect streak of making one in each of his postseason games. Both streaks were NBA records.

After putting on a performance in which he racked up 43 points and 10 rebounds, Curry looked a little gassed in Game 5. Several of his 3s were hitting the front of the rim, suggesting his legs were exhausted from having carried the team to a win. in Game 4. With Curry’s unusual performance in Game 5, you’d think the Warriors would have lost. But Boston didn’t capitalize on its night of shooting, and now the Warriors are one win away from a championship.