In the face of a 3-1 deficit, the Golden State Warriors kicked off Game 5 versus the Los Angeles Lakers determined to extend their Western Conference semifinal match-up.
Golden State raced out to a 12-point lead, 17-5, within the first five minutes of the contest behind an uncharacteristic eight points from Draymond Green. Los Angeles eventually battled back, briefly taking a three-point lead, 45-42, with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter.
However, the Warriors quickly countered to retake control of the match with a team effort and they entered halftime with a 70-59 advantage. Golden State’s momentum carried over to the third period where they kicked things off with a 9-2 run that put them up by 18 points, 79-61.
The Warriors’ early second half run was punctuated by a sequence where Green picked up a loose ball on the Lakers’ end of the court before going court-to-court for a lay-up attempt that missed. Andrew Wiggins then swooped in, grabbing the rebound and throwing down a putback dunk in one motion over Los Angeles’ Anthony Davis.
From that point on, it was smooth sailing for Golden State as the Lakers only managed to trim their lead to a low of nine points, 104-95, midway through the fourth quarter. The Warriors ended up securing a 121-106 win in Game 5 to trim Los Angeles’ lead in this best-of-seven duel to 3-2.
The aforementioned third quarter sequence featuring Green and Wiggins was quite symbolic of the type of evening that Golden State had as they stepped up to support Stephen Curry when the team needed them the most. Curry led the team with 27 points on 50% field goal shooting, three rebounds, eight assists, and a block, but it was the efforts of Green and Wiggins that put them over the top.
The ability of Green to defend the much taller Davis one-on-one has been a crucial factor for Golden State in this series and will continue to be a key theme for the upcoming game(s). The uptick in Green’s offensive output over the past few weeks has been the biggest surprise for this team though and unlocks another level for them.
Green scored 20 points for the second time in this postseason–quite a feat when considering that his last 20-point outing prior to these playoffs was in December 2019–and also had 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.
Meanwhile, Wiggins continued his strong postseason run with his highest scoring game in these playoffs, putting up 25 points on 10-of-18 field goal shooting, seven rebounds, five assists, and one steal. Wiggins has come back fresh after missing the last month and a half of the regular season due to a personal matter and the energy that he has brought to the Warriors is a major difference maker for this veteran team.
Despite the blowout win, Golden State remains one loss away from elimination and will have to win the next two games against the Lakers, including the upcoming Game 6 at the Crypto.com Arena, if they are to keep their title defense hopes alive. Los Angeles is 6-0 at home so far in this postseason and the Warriors will have to come out with the same intensity that they showed in Game 5 if they are to have a chance to further extend this series.
This Golden State team is no stranger to teams coming back from a 3-1 lead to win a best-of-seven series and they have now taken the first step in what they hope to be yet another famed comeback in the NBA’s extensive history.