Celtics

Celtics-Warriors takeaways: Turnovers cost C's in pivotal Game 5

Celtics

The Boston Celtics' backs are against the wall as they head back to TD Garden for a do-or-die Game 6.

After a sluggish first half, the C's erased a 12-point deficit to briefly steal the lead in the third quarter. But Jordan Poole shifted the momentum back in the Golden State Warriors' favor with a 33-footer to end the frame, and Boston wouldn't recover.

The Warriors went on a 10-0 run to begin the fourth quarter and didn't even need superstar Stephen Curry on the floor to do so. They ended up outscoring the Celtics by 15 in the quarter to earn a 104-94 win and a 3-2 series lead.

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Game 6 in Boston is set for a 9 p.m. ET tip-off on Thursday. Here are our takeaways from the Celtics' Game 5 defeat.

Turnovers and free throws make the difference

The formula for a Celtics victory this postseason has been pretty simple: Just take care of the basketball.

They entered Monday night's action 0-5 in these playoffs when they have 16 or more turnovers. They're 14-3 when they have 15 or fewer.

Well, make that 0-6 as they turned the ball over a whopping 18 times in Game 5. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart combined for 13 of them. The Warriors took advantage with 22 points of the Celtics' turnovers.

 

Nine of those C's turnovers came in the first half. Meanwhile, Golden State only turned the ball over six times all game.

Also costing the Celtics was their ineffectiveness from the free throw line. They shot 21-for-31 from the charity stripe and Tatum (2-6 FT), didn't help the cause. Those 10 missed free throws proved costly as that ended up being the margin of victory for the Warriors.

Andrew Wiggins steps up on Stephen Curry's off night

If you told C's fans that Steph Curry would have 16 points on 7-for-22 shooting and miss all nine of his 3-pointers in Game 5, they would love their chances. But while Curry struggled, Andrew Wiggins played the hero for Golden State.

Wiggins came out firing with 16 points in the first half, his postseason career-high for a single half. He didn't stop there as he ended up with 26 points while shooting 12-of-23 from the field. He also notched 13 rebounds and two steals.

Klay Thompson also played a huge role in the Warriors' win, drilling multiple clutch 3s down the stretch and finishing with 21 points (5-11 3PT).

This was the first time in Curry's career that he failed to make a 3-pointer in a playoff game.

Still not enough from the Jays

The Celtics are still waiting for the Jayson Tatum takeover game in the NBA Finals. While he struggled to begin Game 5, he showed flashes of dominance in the second and third quarters.

Tatum's night got off to a rough start with a turnover on the C's first possession. He didn't attempt his first shot until 10 minutes into the game. Once he finally got his first shot to fall, he caught fire and finished with 13 points in the first half. He stayed hot with back-to-back 3s to start the Celtics' third-quarter run.

While he did his part to get Boston back into the game, Tatum once again failed to make his presence felt in the fourth quarter. The 24-year-old was 1-for-5 with five points in the frame, making him 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) in the fourth during this NBA Finals. He also now has 95 turnovers in these playoffs, passing LeBron James (2018) for most in a single postseason.

Tatum finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, but that "takeover game" will have to wait.

As for Jaylen Brown, he struggled mightily in the first half with four points on 2-of-10 shooting, along with three turnovers. He had his moments in the second half, finishing with 18 points and nine boards, but the Celtics will need much more than a 5-for-18 shooting night from him to have a chance in Thursday's Game 6.

Celtics bench goes ice cold

The C's certainly could've used more from their stars, but the second unit deserves a fair share of the blame pie. They were outscored by Golden State's bench, 31-10. Besides the turnover and free-throw discrepancies, that was the clear difference-maker.

 

Derrick White, who's been rock-solid throughout the playoffs, couldn't get anything going as he finished with one point (0-4 FG). It wasn't Payton Pritchard's night either as he went scoreless, missing all three of his 3-point attempts.

Grant Williams, Aaron Nesmith, and Luke Kornet were the only Celtics reserves to score, tallying three points apiece. Gary Payton II and Jordan Poole starred off the Warriors bench with 15 and 14 points, respectively.