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Wiggins and the ‘others’ pick up Curry, lift Warriors within one win of title

The talk after Game 4 was: Will Stephen Curry get enough help to win another title?

Andrew Wiggins emphatically answered that question Monday night, and in doing so put the Golden State Warriors just one win away from another championship.

The often-maligned wing followed up his superb Game 4 with an even better Game 5, leading the Warriors in scoring, rebounding, and minutes before putting an exclamation mark on the 104-94 with a late game drive and dunk.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors locker room at Chase Center.

Wiggins finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while playing 43 minutes of hounding defense on Jayson Tatum.

And the Warriors needed all of it with Curry having the worst game of this postseason. Curry had just 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting and failed to hit a 3 for the first time in his postseason career.

In fact, you have to go back to November of 2018 for the last time Curry wasn’t able to sink a single 3.

None of them were even close Monday night either. Curry was way short on every shot from behind the arc, and it looked like his legs were either fatigued or his ankle was sorer than it was the previous game.

Couple that with the Celtics finally adjusting their scheme against him and doubling or straight switching pick-and-rolls.

It was enough to throw him off his rhythm and really force Warriors secondary players like Wiggins and Klay Thompson to try and create shots for themselves.

It was a mixed bag most of the night. The Warriors were up big at times but that wasn’t a reflection of the shots they were getting.

It was fool’s gold for much of the night and came back to bite them in the third, when their usual dominant quarter was flipped on them and Boston made their double-digit comeback.

The Celtics were actually plus-11 in the third frame. A last-second 3 by Jordan Poole really kept the Warriors attached though, and that spurred Poole in the fourth. He became the creator that the Warriors needed without Curry.

He finished with 14 points and his offense at the start of the fourth really pushed Golden State over the edge.

He even baited Marcus Smart into a couple of fouls and a technical with some well-timed flops.

Poole was joined in that lineup by Gary Payton II, who may be the Warriors fifth-most valuable player in this series.

His athleticism evens the playing field against a Celtics team who look way more athletic than the Warriors, and his on-ball defense against Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been instrumental in limiting those two in the clutch.

And as an added bonus Payton put in 15 points of his own, most in transition or perfectly-timed cuts.

That’s a lot of help the Warriors provided Curry, exactly when he needed it most.

That’s before you even mention Thompson who had some clutch 3’s, and Draymond Green who played easily the best game of the Finals.

Green had been discussed ad nauseum on basketball shows and podcasts this past week. He’s not playing well and averaging under five points per game, but he came out attacking yet under control in Game 5.

His eight points came all in the first half, but that early aggressiveness gave the team the jolt they are usually lacking in the first quarter. It was a total team effort Monday.

This team couldn’t have survived with Curry being 100 percent of the team.

They needed someone, anyone, to step up. And they got almost everyone.

That’s how you win games, and that’s how you win championships.

And with Curry almost always following up a stinker of a game with an explosion, Golden State is on the precipice of doing just that.

Up Next

The Finals go back to two days of rest between games the rest of the way. Game 6 will be back in Boston Thursday before returning to San Francisco Sunday, if necessary.

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