The Golden State Warriors showed their championship DNA in Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics Monday night.
With the series tied up at two heading into San Francisco’s Chase Center, Golden State opened up a 16-point first half lead before Boston actually took the lead in the third quarter.
That’s when Andrew Wiggins put up another signature performance in the NBA Finals with Stephen Curry struggling to do anything after an historic Game 4 outing.
For the first time in these playoffs, the Celtics have lost back-to-back games. Jaylen Brown struggled to the tune of 5-of-18 shooting. Brown and Jayson Tatum turned the ball over a combined nine times in what was a 104-94 Golden State Warriors victory. Here, we look at the four biggest winners and losers from Golden State’s 10-point victory.
Winner: Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins dominated on both ends
Quietly, Wiggins put up 17 points and 16 rebounds in Golden State’s huge Game 4 win over the Celtics. He was overshadowed by Curry’s 43-point performance. That was not the case Monday evening in San Francisco. Wiggins led Golden State in both scoring and rebounds — showing us why he was th No. 1 overall pick to begin with.
- Andrew Wiggins stats (Game 5): 26 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 12-of-23 shooting
Wiggins’ overall game was just elite on both ends of the court. That included playing great defense against the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Considered a bust of his former Minnesota Timberwolves team, Wiggins is now one of the favorites to win the NBA Finals MVP after averaging 21.5 points and 14.5 rebounds over the past two games. Let that sink in.
Loser: Jaylen Brown struggles big time against Golden State Warriors defense
Whether it was Wiggins or others putting pressure on Brown out on the perimeter, the two-guard just didn’t have it for the Boston Celtics Monday evening. Brown missed on all five of his three-point attempts with pretty much every one contested at the line. This comes after he shot 36% from distance over the first four games of the NBA Finals.
Brown needs to perform at a much higher clip than we’ve seen recently. He just has not been an efficient player thus far in the series. That includes scoring 39 points on 37 shots over the past two games. Another stinker of a performance Thursday night in Boston would likely lead to the end of the Celtics’ season.
Winner: Draymond Green turns back the clock for the Golden State Warriors
Green has been among the biggest topics of conversation heading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The three-time NBA champion’s mother even admitted that her son just hasn’t had it through four games.
Green entered Monday’s game averaging 4.3 points on 23% shooting in the Finals. In fact, he had registered more fouls than points scored during that four-game span.
While Green didn’t put up spectacular numbers for the Warriors Monday evening, his ball distribution and defense made a major difference. Green also energized both his fan base and his teammates en route to scoring eight points while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists. The Warriors finished plus-11 with him on the court. That’s a big-boy performance right there.
Loser: Stephen Curry follows up historic performance with a dude
We heard all about what Curry did in Game 4. Dude dropped 43 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in what was an all-time great NBA Finals performance. This came after the two-time MVP suffered a foot injury in Game 3.
We predicted Curry would go off for another 40-point outing in Game 5. He didn’t come close to that. In fact, the three-time champion failed to his a three-pointer in a game for the first time since November of 2018. In missing on all nine of his shots from distance, this also represented the first time in his playoff career that Curry didn’t nail a trey.
- Stephen Curry stats (Game 5): 16 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 7-of-22 shooting, 0-of-9 3-point
The rest of Golden State’s roster picked Curry up. In addition to Wiggins scoring 26, the likes of Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II added a combined 50 points. Even then, the Warriors can’t expect to go into Boston and win the NBA title Thursday evening if Curry’s struggles continue.