The Warriors brought themselves one win away from an NBA championship with a Game 5 win on Monday night. And the guy who led them there was Andrew Wiggins.
The 27-year-old had his second brilliant game in a row, leading the Warriors with 26 points and 13 rebounds on the night and helping Golden State’s defense lock down the Celtics en route to a 104-94 win.
It was a night where Stephen Curry didn’t make a 3-pointer at all, going 0-for-9, making it the first playoff game he’s ever gone without a 3-point make and ending an NBA-record 132 straight playoff games with a 3-pointer.
Curry did score 16 points, mostly by attacking the basket, like so many on Golden State did all night. No one did that better all night than Wiggins (who went 0-for-6 from 3-point range himself), though Klay Thompson scored 21 points and made five from deep, Gary Payton II added 15 points and Jordan Poole contributed 14 — including an impressive buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter.
Now, Golden State is one win away from their seventh championship in franchise history and fourth with the Curry-Thompson-Green and coach Steve Kerr core. They’ll have the luxury of not needing to win on Thursday in Boston to win the series, but they will surely try to end it on the parquet floor.
Here’s what the Warriors are saying after the win:
On Wiggins’ renewed rebounding effort:
I think throughout the playoffs, really, he’s rebounded well. I think it’s just a sense of what’s needed and being on this team, where he’s got veteran guys who are helping him to understand what we need from him, and he’s just using his athleticism in a lot of different ways. He’s just been fantastic, not just in this series but throughout the playoffs.
On winning with Curry having an off night:
Well, the key to our game is defense, and Steph was a big part of that. They were trying to attack him over and over again, and he held up really well. I thought Gary Payton and Wiggs and Draymond really keyed our defensive effort to hold that team to 94 points. That’s what it takes to win a Finals game. It’s got to be about the defense. I think Steph was probably due for a game like this. He’s been shooting the ball so well that, at some point, he was going to have a tough night. But we’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of depth that can make up for that, and the guys did a good job of that tonight.
On if Boston’s defense impacted Curry:
It was both. Boston did a really good job defensively, as we would expect. They are a great defensive team. I thought they put more pressure on him early in pick-and-roll. And Steph missed some open ones, too. So it’s always a combination. But even for the best shooter in the world, you know, games like this happen. And fortunately they don’t happen too often. I like Steph coming off of a game like this, too. I like his ability to bounce back. So to be able to win the game with our defense, with our depth, is a great team effort.
On how much poise matters at this point of the season:
I thought that was the most important part of the game tonight because we had a 12-point lead at the half, and they came and just stormed right through us in that third quarter for the first, whatever it was, eight, nine minutes. And that was a crucial part of the game for us to respond to that. Jordan hit a couple big ones late third and then had a good stretch to start the fourth as well. But the response to Boston’s run to me was the key to the game.
On Green’s bounceback night:
That’s a guy I’ve been watching for eight years. He’s always over the place defensively. He’s distributing the ball. He’s bringing that intensity and competitiveness and energy. I thought Draymond was brilliant.
On his performance tonight:
I felt more like myself, aggressive on both ends of the ball, but I felt a little more like myself in Game 4 as well, after an atrocious Game 3. But you’ve just got to continue to build. Tonight is a great start, and I look forward to going into Game 6 with the same energy and effort.
On responding to big Boston third quarter right away in the fourth:
I think the way we responded in the third quarter was huge, and Jordan hitting that shot right before the clock expired was a great momentum boost for us. You know, when a team goes on a run like they did — and it was more than a run — they pretty much dominated the entire third quarter. For us to still go into the fourth quarter with the lead, that’s huge. And I think that was something that we could build on, and we did. You know, coming out there in the fourth quarter, we were able to get stops, and we got out in transition, got a couple easy buckets, and that was huge for us.
On Wiggins building trust with Warriors:
That trust has been building for two and a half years now since he got here. A lot of people looked at that trade like, oh, that’s another piece they can move. We looked at the trade from the very beginning like that is a guy who can fit next to a healthy group absolutely well. When he first came here, and I’ll never forget, it was when Thibs [Tom Thibodeau] wasn’t with the Knicks, and Thibs was like, you’re going to love him. He competes. He defends. And he was telling us Jimmy loved him. And we all know how Jimmy Butler is. If you have any softness to you, Jimmy don’t like you. That’s how Jimmy is cut. He’s continued to show that. He’s continued to get better. He’s taken on every challenge that we have thrown in front of him. And that’s been huge. And we need him to do that for one more win.
On if winning when Curry makes zero 3-pointers is extra satisfying:
No, I don’t think there’s a different type of satisfaction. A win is a win. Whether Steph gets 43, 10, 4, or whether he finishes with 16-for-22 shooting, a win is a win. Obviously, we have spoke about helping him, and I don’t think he’s been out there helpless, like that’s the narrative. But everybody’s doing their part, and tonight, a night that he didn’t have it going, we found offense elsewhere, and that’s kind of what it’s been. On the same token, if he’s got it going, we’re going to be heavy Steph Curry. That’s just what it is. The whole notion of this guy doesn’t — he doesn’t have help, well, you’ve got 43, he’s going to keep shooting, and we’re going to do all that we can to get him shooting it. It was huge. Now, that’s good for us. He was 0-for-9 from three. He’s going to be livid going into Game 6, and that’s exactly what we need.
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