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Saturday, October 1, 2022

After taking out the Celtics in Game 5, Golden State now needs one more victory to clinch the championship

On Monday night, Golden State’s offence had been a mess for almost the entire third quarter until Andrew Wiggins advanced the ball to Jordan Poole, a rookie player who had a great deal of self-assurance. Poole scored the game-winning basket. Poole took a three-point shot from 33 feet out just as the buzzer sounded, and the ball deflected off the glass before dropping into the basket.

The heave was a buzzer-beating breath of life for Golden State in Game 5 of the National Basketball Association finals. It was also a breath of life for the team’s white-knuckled fans, who rode waves of highs and lows before the Warriors pulled away for a 104-94 victory that put them on the cusp of another championship.

When Golden State heads on the road to take on Boston in Game 6 of the series on Thursday night, the club has a chance to secure its fourth championship in eight seasons and its first championship since 2018 when it does so. Golden State currently holds a 3-2 lead in the series.

Wiggins had the most points for Golden State with 26, while Klay Thompson contributed 21 of his own. In spite of the defeat, the Celtics were led in scoring by Jayson Tatum, who finished with 27 points.

Golden State had a 12 point lead after a strong start, but the Celtics scored the first 10 points of the second half thanks to four free throws from Jaylen Brown and back-to-back 3-pointers from Tatum. This was an unexpected turn of events given Golden State’s reputation for having one of the NBA’s most intense third quarters. Marcus Smart and Al Horford hit on successive 3-pointers of their own for the Celtics, which was part of a 19-4 run that saw the Celtics take the lead.

When Klay Thompson finally hit a pair of 3-point shots in the second half, it was a much-needed lift for both Golden State and for Thompson, who had been having his fair share of troubles in the series. Golden State had missed its first eight 3-point tries of the second half.

After Poole capped off the third quarter with a long 3-pointer, a shot that sent the home crowd at Chase Center into a state of near-delirium, his teammates seemed to ride that wave of excitement after the basket. When Klay Thompson got by Marcus Smart and made another three-point shot for Golden State, the lead was back up to eight points.

Stephen Curry had a subpar performance in Game 5 for Golden State, ending with just 16 points and shooting 0 of 9 from 3-point range. This was after he had scored 43 points in Golden State’s victory in Game 4, which Golden State won. However, his teammates came through for him. Golden State seemed determined to win from the very beginning, as seen by their relentless movement of the ball from side to side and corner to corner in an effort to set themselves up for the greatest shot imaginable. Not that the club was always able to connect, as seen by their 3-point shooting performance in the first half, as they went 3 for 17 from outside the arc.

Despite this, Golden State was able to build a lead of up to 16 points by the time the first quarter was winding down, at which point Boston started to make headway while Curry was sitting on the bench. Smart hit a 10-foot jumper. Robert Williams made his way inside for a layup thanks to his dogged determination.

Golden State regained its footing, and Stephen Curry’s up-and-under layup gave the Warriors a 51-39 advantage going into the locker room.

Wiggins, who had 16 points and 7 rebounds in the first half, and Draymond Green, who constructed one of his most forceful periods of the finals, were two of the key contributors to Golden State’s success in the first half. He finished the first four games of the series with a combined 17 points scored on his account. At the break in Game 5, he had eight points and was moving quite quickly around the court.

After struggling with his shooting for a significant portion of the series, Tatum was doing all he could to help the Celtics stay in the game. He finished the first half with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Prior to the start of the game, the coach of the Celtics, Ime Udoka, voiced worry that Tatum had been more focused on committing fouls rather than attempting quality shots. When it came to his drives, Udoka urged him to be “more muscular.”

This past Monday marked the 25th anniversary of a significant event that occurred during Steve Kerr’s playing career with the Golden State Warriors. In Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals, it was Steve Kerr’s jump jumper that sealed the title for the Chicago Bulls over the Utah Jazz. This was the sixth championship for the Bulls under the era of Michael Jordan.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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