Three takeaways from Warriors keeping season alive, while all eyes turn to Anthony Davis
The Golden State Warriors playing with urgency with their season on the line in their own building — the one place they have consistently played well — and getting the win was not a surprise. Stephen Curry would not go quietly, and he got plenty of help.
But Curry’s play is not the main talking point heading into Game 6. Instead, it’s the health of Anthony Davis, who took an inadvertent elbow to the head from Kevon Looney, one that ended Davis’ night. His status will have the biggest impact on Game 6.
Here are three takeaways from Game 5.
1) Anthony Davis leaves with head injury, can he play in Game 6?
Early in the fourth quarter, while positioning for a potential rebound, Looney inadvertently elbowed Davis in the side of the head, and AD was instantly in pain and a bit wobbly.
Davis went to the bench and sat there a while before going to the locker room. At one point was moved between rooms in a wheelchair, according to Chris Haynes of TNT. Haynes later described what happened to Davis — people having to help hold him up at one point — but then added Davis appears to have avoided a concussion. Davis was seen walking out of the Chase Center under his own power.
“Obviously, everyone saw he took a shot to the head, but we just checked in on him, he seems to be doing really good already,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “That’s just where he’s at. That’s the status of it right now.”
Sometimes concussions can take time to manifest and Davis will be monitored for 24 hours. If AD is officially diagnosed with a concussion there is a specific return-to-play protocol from the league that includes evaluation and clearance by an independent doctor (in consultation with the team physician), being symptom-free at rest and completing a specific exertion process without symptoms. It would be unlikely he could clear that protocol in time to play in Game 6.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and Davis is healthy. The Lakers need him.
Davis finished with 23 points and nine rebounds before leaving Wednesday’s game. He has been critical to the Lakers’ success this postseason — when he is on the court the Lakers outscore their opponent by 9.6 points per 100 possessions, when he sits they get outscored by 8.2 per 100. Without him they would face long odds in Game 6.
2) Stephen Curry got help from Wiggins, Green
Game 4 on Monday felt like Stephen Curry against the world, and while he finished with a 31-point triple-double he was not himself — shooting 3-of-14 from 3 — and didn’t get near enough help.
In Game 5 Curry may have played a little better — 27 points, eight assists, 3-of-11 from beyond the arc — but he got real help.
Andrew Wiggins scored 25 on 10-of-18 shooting and played solid defense.
Then there was Draymond Green who compiled 20 points and 10 rebounds plus he led and improved defensive effort from the Warriors.
“Our defensive mindfulness was there,” Curry said.
Can the Warriors replicate that effort — and maybe get more out of Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, who were a combined 8-of-26 — on Friday night in a Game 6 on the road? It can’t just be Curry.
3) Do LeBron, Davis have one more big game in them?
It sounds like a hot take when Charles Barkley comes on Inside the NBA and says Game 6 is the Lakers’ Game 7 because they can’t come back to the Bay Area and win another game.
He’s not wrong. While the Lakers could win a Game 7 they want no part of the defending champions and Curry on their home court with everything on the line.
The Lakers need to take care of business at home, where they are 6-0 this postseason. But to get there they need peak Davis and LeBron James, and durability will be a question heading into Friday night.
Davis was covered above and his status will get a lot more scrutiny in the next 24 hours. LeBron, who has been playing through a foot issue all postseason, seemed to aggravate it late in the third quarter, and he appeared to favor his left foot the rest of the game. He still finished with 25 points and nine boards.
The Lakers have been getting big games from role players all postseason — Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Lonnie Walker — but winning Game 6 has to start with LeBron and Davis. They have to show they have one more game in them if they are going to prove the eerily accurate Corgi wrong.
One thing is for sure: The Warriors will not roll over under pressure like the Grizzlies did last round for the Lakers. Los Angeles is going to have to earn this one.