The Golden State Warriors kept their chances at a return to the NBA Finals alive in Game 5. Relive the key action points from the game here.
Game 5 was a must-win situation for the Golden State Warriors. And boy, did they bring the level of energy and urgency needed to come out on top and stave off elimination.
The Warriors came out of the gates strong. They threatened to blow the game wide open whenever the opportunity presented itself and also made key stops and counter-runs to thwart any momentum from the opposing side.
We’re not going to say they won handily, but they were pretty much in control for most of the 48 minutes of the game.
That said, there are some noteworthy things to be plucked out from that all-important Game 5 that we feel might play out as key factors throughout the remainder of the series.
1. “Hit Singles” – Steve Kerr
The Warriors had their fewest three-point attempts in the five games of the series so far at 35. For context, they attempted 53, 42, 44, and 41 from games 1-4 respectively. Despite this stat, the Warriors still managed to put up 121 points.
Three-pointers are synonymous with the franchise that the Splash Brothers built. That means that we’re not at all implying that they should suddenly start taking fewer 3-pointers for a better chance to win the series. Rather, we’re alluding to what’s being repeatedly uttered by their great coach, Steve Kerr. And that is for them to “hit singles” rather than go for home runs.
It seems that the team has taken this advice to heart and actually pulled off the W in the process.
2. The Warriors matching the Lakers (almost) point-for-point in the paint
Perhaps a microcosm of the entire game could be captured in the second quarter — one that showed a complete role reversal between the two rival teams.
It was a high-octane back-and-forth battle wherein both teams were trading baskets. Oddly, it’s the Lakers hitting the long ball to keep in step with the Warriors’ onslaught of strong drives to the basket.
Each one was getting a taste of their own medicine until suddenly, the Warriors flipped a switch with about 4:30 to go in the quarter. They suddenly went on a berserk 16-5 run capped off by a Steph Curry buzzer-beater to end the half, much to the delight of the home crowd.
3. Ahh, yes. The (very controversial) free throws.
If you’ve been following this series closely, one of the storylines is the discrepancy in free throw attempts. There was no such gap in Game 5 as both teams had 15 free throws each.
Pro-Warrior conspiracy theorists would be quick to say, “I told you so,” as they try their hardest to convince you that their losses were borne out of unfair officiating. But as always, the numbers tell the unbiased story.
And what story is that? That you’re not really going to get fouled a lot when you’re hoisting three-pointers from deep as much as when you attack the basket. That’s just basketball common sense.
And so, what does a great team like the Warriors do? They attacked the basket aggressively and often. And what did that get them? Oh, look at that. Free throws.
(Forgive the snarky writing. I just can’t stand disingenuous narratives tainting the treat of a playoff series that this actually is. Aaaannyway, moving on.)
4. Steph and Co.
The Warriors had six players in double figures in Game 5. More importantly, the much-needed support in scoring took place during important moments when Steph was either taking a breather or the Lakers were making a run.
Wiggins and Green put up 25 and 20 respectively. And as mentioned, these points came in during different parts of the game that really aided the Warriors in their do-or-die situation.
We don’t need to ask Steph if he’d rather have a triple-double like he did in Game 4, or have his teammates show up the way they did today. The result obviously speaks for itself.
5. Adding injury to insult
To make matters worse for the Lakers, Anthony Davis got hit with an elbow to the side of the head. It didn’t look like much from the replays and the real-time footage. However, it was serious enough that Chris Haynes reported that AD was seen being taken out on a wheelchair to be brought to the hospital and examined for a possible concussion.
However, early diagnosis after the game showed that Davis appeared to have avoided a concussion, thankfully.
The Lakers just went from closing out the Warriors to get a 5-day rest ahead of the next round, to now having to worry about every little detail heading into Game 6 with a very dangerous team.
Speaking of Game 6 and very dangerous… Do you think we’ll see Game 6 Klay?
If you’re a Laker fan, you’re probably not liking what you’re reading right now. The paint and the free throw line are supposed to be where your taller and more physical team makes their living. Yet somehow, the Warriors seem to have matched your team on this advantage almost point-for-point.
For now, let’s look towards Game 6. Will the Warriors make it seven or will the Lakers close the series?
Banner image from Golden State Warriors on Twitter.