The Warriors got scared. After a serious start to the game, they saw the Celtics pounce on them in the third quarter. However, they managed to reverse the trend by dominating the last quarter thanks to the duo Andrew Wiggins – Klay Thompson. The Celtics lost 18 balls against the Golden State defense and dropped a second game in a row for the first time in their playoffs. They won’t have the right to make mistakes overnight from Thursday to Friday, in front of their fans.
The Warriors set the tone from the first minutes thanks to a physical and alert defense that limits Boston to 2/9 on shots. Opposite, Draymond Green’s teammates use it as a hub to get easy baskets and score their first 10 points in the racket (14-4). Golden State continues its undermining work and, despite an awkward Stephen Curry, takes a 16-point lead (24-8). It takes 6 straight points from Jayson Tatum and limit decision-making from the Dubs to allow the Celtics to limit the damage (27-16).
Despite an award-winning shot from Jordan Poole, the Warriors play like their sixth man, that is, rushing. They completely lose the thread offensively against the black wall of the Celtics, and Marcus Smart takes the opportunity to launch an 8-0 which puts Boston back in the game (32-26). The Celtics, however, miss the boat by missing their first twelve award-winning shots, allowing Golden State to stay ahead thanks to six straight points from Andrew Wiggins (43-32). Limited to only three attempts from afar in the first half, Stephen Curry then successfully attacked the circle while Boston lost three balls in the last two minutes (51-39).
Boston comes back in the 3rd quarter… then collapses
Despite their 12-point lead, the Warriors played with fire for the final 15 minutes of the first half. They end up getting burned when they return from the locker room. They start the third quarter with a foul, a lost ball, a 24-second violation and an offensive foul. Opposite, Jayson Tatum scores three 3-pointers in a row, then he is imitated by Marcus Smart and Al Horford who finish a 19-4 which gives Boston the advantage (58-55)!
The Warriors, and Stephen Curry in particular, then abused the 3-point shot but Boston harvested three opportunities to make the hole by losing as many balls. Klay Thompson then finds the target at the best time. He fired two arrows from a distance, Jordan Poole imitated him as soon as he returned to the field, including an improbable shot at the buzzer, and the Warriors came out of this storm with a one-point lead (75-74)!
The Celtics try to restart the machine but they start the last quarter with four missed shots and a lost ball that Klay Thompson transforms into a 3-pointer to launch a 7-0 Dubs! Marcus Smart then receives a technical foul and an offensive foul, trapped twice by Jordan Poole, and the young Warrior hits the mark behind to put Boston at -11 (85-74)! Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson miss several opportunities to put the head of the Celtics under water, but they miss free throw after free throw and, on the kneecaps, fail to pick up.
As a symbol, it is Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson who come to finish the job, well supported by a Stephen Curry who is reassured near the circle. The Warriors fulfill their contract and will travel to Boston on Thursday with the opportunity to win the title!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– A 24-8 that sets the tone. After each of their playoff losses, the Celtics responded by taking the bull by the horns. We saw them do that in Milwaukee in Game 6 and in Miami in Game 5 and 7. It’s often Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown who get them off to a good start. Tonight, the two players failed to avoid the Warriors tsunami. Behind the offensive and defensive aggression of Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State took control of the game. They limited the Smart-Brown duo to 2/11 on shots, while attacking Boston’s defense with plenty of decoys to work their way to 14 points in the key to make the run for the lead.
– The 3-point address at half mast on both sides in the first half. After four games, the Celtics were 42% from 3-pointers, five percentage points above their playoff average. We could expect a backlash and it happened in the first half. They missed their first twelve 3-point shots, a new record in an NBA Finals game, and returned to the locker room at 3/15. The Warriors have not done much better with 3/17 but it is especially the total of Stephen Curry (0/3) which is obvious. The Celtics announced after Game 4 that they were unhappy with the long-range shooting volume of the two-time MVP, who attempted 14 3-point shots. They responded by going even higher up the screens to cut off Stephen Curry’s shots.
– Two-faced Celtics. Boston returns to the game with a 19-4 including 6/6 from 3-pointers to start the third quarter. As they take a five-point lead and the Warriors stammer their basketball, the Celtics chain the loss of balls to keep Golden State in the game. This bad passage continues at the start of the fourth quarter. Lost balls pay cash and that’s the story of this game (and even the playoffs) for the Celtics. They collect 22 points on their 18 lost balls, and also missed 10 free throws.
– The Golden State bench makes the difference. Thanks to 15 points from Gary Payton II and 14 points from Jordan Poole, the Golden State substitutes scored 27 points against only 10 points for the Celtics, including 6 in “garbage time”. Every time Jordan Poole has won his duel from distance against Derrick White, the Warriors have won.
✅Andrew Wiggins. The “Mister Clean” of the Warriors has struck again! He finished the game with 24 points and 13 rebounds to tie with a more prominent Jayson Tatum. Statistics aside, the Canadian scored important points throughout the game as Stephen Curry struggled with his shot.
✅Klay Thompson. Three years to the day after his knee injury in Game 6 of the Finals against Toronto, he was present at the best time. With the Warriors in trouble in the third quarter, the “Splash Brother” scored two game-changing 3-pointers. He scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.
✅ Draymond Green. 8 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, the strong winger was much more aggressive tonight and it showed. He set the tone in the first half and was intractable in defence. He is still out for 6 faults but his impact has been precious.
✅ ⛔ Jayson Tatum. The Celtics star responded after his underperformance in Game 4, finishing the game with 27 points on 50% shooting and 10 rebounds. Visibly exhausted (airballs, missed free throws…), he unfortunately could not prevent his team from sinking in the last quarter.
⛔Stephen Curry. Exceptional during Game 4, the double MVP never knew how to find his rhythm against the much higher defense of Boston. He scored 16 points at 7/22 on shots, including 0/9 from 3-pointers. It was the first playoff game of his career where he did not score an outside shot, ending a streak of 132 games. However, he delivered 8 assists against the pitfalls of the Boston defense.
⛔ Jaylen Brown. Boston’s second star scored 18 points at 5/18 on shots and never got to put his stamp on the game, losing himself to Golden State’s hands and assists.
Game 6: on the night of Thursday to Friday in Boston.
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