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Rapid Reaction - NBA Finals Game 5

Most playoff series follow a particular script where it’s fairly easy to dissect why a particular team wins or loses. But last night that script was completely torn up as Steph Curry turned in one of the worst games of his NBA career and the Golden State Warriors still found a way to beat the Boston Celtics, 104-94, behind an unlikely group of contributors. Let’s take a quick look as both teams get ready for Game 6 in Boston on Thursday evening.

We’ll start with Curry who scored 16 points on 7 of 22 shooting including 0 of 9 from 3-point range. It was his first game since 2018 without recording a 3-point field goal. I’m not sure if Curry was hurt or something else was going on, but he clearly was not himself last night. It seemed as if his energy and body language were off and while he said all of the right things afterwards, I think he could have been more engaged as a teammate. It was one game however, and I think assuming he’s healthy he should be in line for a huge Game 6. The Celtics failed to take advantage of a terrible game by Curry and fell back into their old habits that have prohibited them from closing close games. The bench contributed only 10 points, they turned the ball over 18 times to the Warriors 6, and they became too concerned with arguing and contesting calls with the refs as opposed to focusing on the task at hand. I wrote about this last game – The Celtics need to show they are capable of winning and succeeding in close games down the stretch. They let a golden opportunity go by on Monday night and it may cost them the NBA Championship.

When your best player has an off night, it’s imperative that the rest of his supporting cast fills the void and the Warriors did just that. Every time it seemed as if the Celtics were about to come all the way back and snatch momentum, Klay Thompson seemed to have an answer with a clutch basket, Gary Payton II contributed 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and Jordan Poole contributed 14 points despite only seeing 14 minutes of action. Kevon Looney and Draymond Green (despite all of his extracurricular activities on the court) did not let foul trouble hinder their energy and contributions while they were on the court. But there was clearly one player for the Warriors who was their best player last night…

Andrew Wiggins turned in one of the best games of his career last evening, with 26 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. The stats only tell one part of the story however. Wiggins energy kept the Celtics off guard all night as they had no answers for his speed and quickness. He led the Warriors with 42 minutes and played fantastic defense throughout the evening. Simply put, without Wiggins the Warriors are going back to Boston on Thursday down 3-2. He’s played 2 fantastic games in a row and will look to ride that momentum into a potential final game on Thursday night.

Photo of Andrew Wiggins - Carlos Avila Gonzalez - San Francisco Chronicle

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