Warriors one win away from title after Andrew Wiggins seizes spotlight in Game 5 victory

SAN FRANCISCO –  Stephen Curry didn’t turn in another legendary performance like his 43-point, 10-rebound effort in the Warriors’ Game 4 victory on Friday.

But Golden State didn’t need that from Curry as a supporting cast led by Andrew Wiggins stepped up in major ways in a 104-94 win over the Celtics that gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

Wiggins recorded his fifth postseason double-double, Klay Thompson made five 3-pointers and scored 21 points and Gary Payton II and Jordan Poole combined for 29 points off the bench to move the Warriors one win away from their fourth title in eight seasons.

Curry scored 16 points on Monday, but went 0-for-9 from beyond the arc and didn’t make a 3-pointer for the first time in his playoff career and the first time in a NBA game since November 8, 2018.

Golden State held a 12-point halftime lead, but squandered it in the third quarter before Poole launched a 38-foot heave before the buzzer to put the Warriors ahead 75-74 entering the fourth quarter. Poole’s 3-pointer spurred a 10-0 start to the fourth quarter for Golden State, which outscored Boston 29-20 in the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors owned the first half of Game 5, doing most of their damage in the paint. Meanwhile, the Celtics struggled to get anything going offensively. Boston missed its first 12 shots from deep, shooting a poor 39% from the field and 20% from 3-point range.

While Golden State has built a strong reputation on outplaying its opponents in the third quarter, the Celtics flipped the script in Game 5.

The Celtics outscored the Warriors 35-24 in the third, making 6-of-14 attempts from deep, as Al Horford put Boston ahead 58-55 with a wide open look from 3-point range to give his team its first lead.

Poole’s prayer at the buzzer off an outlet pass from Wiggins swung momentum back in the Warriors’ favor, and the 22-year-old celebrated the 38-footer by wagging his tongue and yelling before high-fiving some lucky fans sitting courtside.

Poole helped key the hot start to the fourth quarter, but the spotlight on Monday belonged to Wiggins, who put together one of his best playoff performances yet. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

After getting called out by his mother on Twitter following a rough showing in Game 4, Draymond Green promised to “figure it out” in Game 5. He did, playing his best half of the Finals series.

In the first quarter, he faked a handoff to Curry before driving to the rim for a dunk. He glared at the Celtics bench following the basket.

Green finished with 8 points, doubling the number he scored in the two previous games (4), and grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists.

The series returns to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday where the Warriors will have an opportunity to clinch a title and avoid a winner-take-all Game 7 at Chase Center on Sunday.

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Author: Madeline Kenney

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