Warriors beat Celtics in Game 5 of NBA Finals and close to championship: key takeaways

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SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State’s Steph Curry struggled with his shot. The Warriors’ 3-point shot evaporated. And the Boston Celtics started to take control and looked like they could put themselves in position to win another playoff road game.

Then the Celtics had a mini-crash offensively and with the umpires, and Golden State took advantage.

Building on Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson, an improved performance from Draymond Green and strong bench play, the Warriors beat the Celtics 104-94 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday.

It was the 31st time a Finals series has been tied at 2-2, and in the previous 30 instances, the winner of Game 5 has won the series 73.3% of the time (22-8).

Golden State can win the championship in Game 6 Thursday in Boston (9 p.m. ET, UKTN).

Andrew Wiggins scored a team-high 26 points for the Warriors.

The Warriors will be looking to win their fourth title in eight seasons and the first since beating Cleveland in 2018. It would be their seventh overall — the third for a franchise behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Celtics, each with 17.

It was the first time the Celtics had lost back-to-back postseason playoffs.

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Here are five key takeaways from Game 5:

Wiggins is thriving again

Wiggins chained his double-double in Game 4 with another in Game 5: team highs in points (26) and rebounds (13), and he reached the point where it’s fair to wonder: where? would be the Warriors in this series. without Wiggins?

Wiggins shot 12 for 23 and also had two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. In the fourth quarter, he had 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting, including an emphatic one-handed dunk with 2:10 remaining, giving Golden State a 99-84 lead.

His performance over the past two games is one of the main reasons the Warriors are in this position.

Curry fights for the first time in the series

Curry had at least 30 points in the first four games of the series, including 43 in Game 4 – the second best scouring finish of his career in the Finals.

Curry finished with 16 points on 7-for-22 shooting, but he had eight assists, three rebounds and a steal.

Curry was unsuccessful on his shot on Monday, missing all nine of his 3-point attempts. It was the first time in his career that he didn’t score a 3-pointer in a playoff game, according to basketball-reference.com.

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Tatum starts slow, gets hot, ends cold

In the first seven minutes of game 5, Jayson Tatum did not attempt a single shot. Once he started shooting late in the first quarter, he struggled to miss.

During three quarters, Tatum shot 9 of 15 and had 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. He started the third quarter with two 3-pointers, helping the Celtics wipe out a 12-point halftime deficit.

But he had just five points on 1-for-5 shooting in the fourth quarter as the Celtics were outscored 29-20.

Green comes to play in Game 5

Green heard the criticism. About his game. About doing his podcast during the NBA Finals. He had his best game of the series in Game 5, going aggressive with four points, two rebounds and two assists in the first quarter.

On Sunday, Magic Johnson tweeted, “Looking forward to a triple double from Draymond Green tomorrow!”

Close, but not quite. Still, Green had eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists and a steal.

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3 ball problem for both teams

The Celtics entered Game 5 shooting 37.2% of 3 in the playoffs, including 37.8% in the Finals. They missed their first 12 3-point attempts and had none until Tatum struck at 4:34 of the second quarter.

Boston finished the half 3 for 15 of 3, which was oddly better than Golden State’s 3 for 17. The Warriors finished 22.5% and the Celtics 34.4% on 3s.

A warrior who made his 3-point shot work: Klay Thompson, who had 21 points and made 5-for-11 3s. Thompson made two 3s in the fourth — part of a 10-0 Warriors run to start the quarter and one with 1:45 left to give Golden State a 102-86 lead.

The offense wasn’t pretty but also not a surprise considering the Celtics were No. 1 and the Warriors No. 2 in defensive efficiency during the regular season.

The difference? Boston shot just 20 for 43 from inside the arc, and Golden State went 32 for 48 and outscored the Celtics 50-36 on points in the paint. Boston also missed 10 free throws.

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Warriors beat Celtics, head to NBA Championship in Game 5

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