What we learned as Wiggins leads Warriors to brink of NBA title


SAN FRANCISCO -- Three wins down, one to go to be crowned champions yet again. 

The Warriors, after beating the Boston Celtics 104-94 on Monday night at Chase Center in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, only need to win one of the next possible two games to take home the title. 

As Steph Curry searched for his shot, the Warriors used a complete team effort to take down the Celtics. They came out of the gates with focus and intensity, riding the energy of a geared-up of San Francisco crowd. Then, the Celtics gave them a scare in the third quarter before the Warriors buckled down and put this game away.

Andrew Wiggins led the way with 26 points, followed by 21 from Klay Thompson. Steph Curry scored 16, his lowest of the Finals by 13 points.
Jayson Tatum put 27 points for the Celtics. He also turned the ball over four times, and now has committed the most turnovers in a single postseason.

The Warriors never will let go of their Strength In Numbers mantra. Game 5 showed why.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors taking a huge three-games-to-two lead on the Celtics in the Finals.

Draymond, Wiggins Show Up Early 

Following a rough Game 3 performance, Draymond Green didn't make his force felt until the final three-and-a-half minutes in the Warriors' Game 4 win -- after sitting four big minutes in the period. On Monday night, Green was done waiting around. 

In the first quarter, he scored four points to go with two assists and two rebounds. He combined to score four points over the previous two games. By halftime, Green was up to eight points with four rebounds and three assists.


Green didn't score again in the second half, ending his night with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He fouled out with three minutes remaining and was a game-high plus-13 at the time.

Along with Green, Wiggins didn't waste any time making his presence felt. He was phenomenal in the first quarter, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds. At the end of the first half, he dropped 16 points to go with seven rebounds. His aggressiveness was as apparent as ever, attacking the rim and taking 14 first-half shots.

Wiggins was held scoreless in the third quarter, but responded with 10 points in the fourth. He now has six double-doubles this postseason after adding 13 rebounds.

Steph Gets His Help

Curry through the first four games of the Finals was far and away the best player on the floor. He also was a one-man show too often for the Warriors. His teammates promised to give him more help after he scored 43 points in Game 4, and they came through when needed most. 

While giving everything he had one defense, Curry struggled to find his shot. He finished 7-for-22 from the field and missed all nine of his 3-point attempts. This time, his teammates were there to pick him up.

Four other Warriors scored in double figures. Behind Wiggins' 26 and Thompson's 21, Gary Payton II scored 15 points off the bench and Jordan Poole added 14. 

The Warriors' bench outscored the Celtics 31-9.

Flipping The Script 

The Third-Quarter Warriors took an untimely break Monday night. The Warriors had won the third quarter in each of the first four games and came into Game 5 outscoring the Celtics by 49 points in the frame. But the Celtics caught fire and opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run. 

Boston missed its first 12 3-pointers. The Celtics then made eight straight from deep and drained six 3-pointers in the third period. They won the quarter 35-24. However, the end of the frame belonged to the Warriors. 

Poole again beat the buzzer, and this time, the bank was open. 

The Warriors rode that momentum to open the fourth with a 10-0 run of their own, taking an 85-74 lead. They outscored the Celtics by nine points in the fourth quarter and led by 15 points in the final period at one point. Golden State now has won two straight fourth quarters after losing the first three. 

The Celtics now have lost back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 21, and the Warriors must be locked in to make it three straight as the series head to TD Garden.