After an impressive performance by Andrew Wiggins in Game 5, the Golden State Warriors have a chance to win their fourth title in eight seasons after taking a 3-2 series lead over the Boston Celtics. With a chance for the NBA Champion to be crowned, it’s only fitting that I return once more to give you a preview of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Recap of Game 5:
It was straight domination by the Warriors defense in the first two quarters as they held the Celtics to just 39 points in the first half on 39% shooting from the field. While the defense held things down in the first half, Golden State was able to move the ball around as seven players would score in the half and they had 10 assists on 20 made shots.
While this series has been dominated by the brilliance of Steph Curry, he was held to just 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting. It was Andrew Wiggins who stepped up as he put up 16 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one block in the first 24 minutes of action to lead Golden State to a 51-39 lead.
Jayson Tatum tried to keep the Celtics in it as he scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds on 6-for-9 shooting. Tatum received little help from his teammates as they combined for just 26 points on 10-for-32 shooting from the field (31.3%).
Things would change in the second half as for the first time this series, the Celtics outscored Golden State in the third quarter, 35-24. Tatum finally got support as the former Duke star put up nine points, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart also chipped in nine points. The Celtics began the third quarter blazing hot as they went on a 19-4 run finished off by an Al Horford three pointer to take the lead, 58-55 with 6:27 left to in the frame.
The Celtics would hold the lead for most of the third quarter, but the Warriors made a run to respond. With 3:36 left and the Celtics up by five, Golden State would go on a 11-5 run over the next two minutes and 42 seconds to tale a 72-71 lead. The two sides would trade baskets to finish the quarter as the Warriors held a 75-74 lead heading into the final stanza.
The fourth quarter would be dominated by the Andrew Wiggins, finally showing some of that potential that made him the number one overall pick eight years ago. Wiggins scored 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting while grabbing five rebounds. Jordan Poole also came alive as he dropped in 11 points during the entire second half including five points in the final frame.
The Warriors would start the quarter with 10 straight points to take an 85-74 lead with 8:27 left to play in the game.
The Celtics tried to mount a comeback as they brought the game within seven points with 7:30 left but Golden State would make one more run to finish this game out. Golden State used up almost three minutes of the quarter to outscore Boston 6-1 to take a 91-79 lead with 4:45 left to play.
Wiggins finished off his masterful 26-point performance with a nasty dunk over Derrick White, giving the Warriors a 99-84 lead with 2:10 left to play.
The Warriors would go on to win this one 104-94 and have pushed themselves to the brink of capturing another title during this reformed dynasty.
Klay Thompson had another strong performance as he dropped 21 points on 5-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc, while Poole, Curry and Gary Payton II put in a combined 45 points.
Jayson Tatum put in a strong effort for Boston as he had a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Celtics in both those categories. Marcus Smart also put up 20 points three rebounds and two assists.
The issue for the Celtics was the rest of the team as outside of Tatum and Smart, the Celtics scored just 47 points on 35% shooting from the field.
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
When: June 16, 8 p.m. CT
Key to a Warriors win: Repeat the performance from Game 5
There is not much to critique from the Warriors game 5 performance outside of the third quarter, but even then, the Warriors made a run to set themselves up for a strong fourth quarter. If the Warriors can take care of the ball like they did in game 5 (23 assists to six turnovers) and get a better performance from Steph Curry, they will win game 6 and the NBA title.
Key for a Celtics Win: Take care of the basketball
The Celtics passing and ball security has been a major issue this entire series as they are averaging 15.6 turnovers a night. Even in the games that Boston has won they have given the ball away 12 times. Not to mention that in two games in this series they have turned the ball over 18 times (Games 2 and 5). If they want any chance of pushing this NBA Finals to 7 games, they need to take care of the ball.
Prediction: Warriors 107, Celtics 100
I am officially changing my pick for series. As much as I wanted to stay with Boston since it was my initial pick, I must pick the Warriors to win this series. My thinking was that if they can limit Steph Curry, they can win the series. The problem is that the Warriors have so many other options that the Celtics just can’t keep up. Between Poole, Thompson and Game 5 hero Wiggins, the Celtics defense has too much to worry about. So, now my official prediction is Warriors in six with Steph Curry finally getting his first Finals MVP (Yes he deserved it in 2015 over Andre Iguodala).