Warriors on brink of NBA title as Andrew Wiggins punishes Boston Celtics Photograph:( AFP )
With Stephen Curry having a rare off-night after his 43-point game four heroics, Wiggins seized control to lead a balanced Golden State offensive effort which leaves the Warriors 3-2 up in the best-of-seven series.
Andrew Wiggins scored 26 points as the Golden State Warriors battled past the Boston Celtics 104-94 to move within one win of a seventh NBA championship crown on Monday.
With Stephen Curry having a rare off-night after his 43-point game four heroics, Wiggins seized control to lead a balanced Golden State offensive effort which leaves the Warriors 3-2 up in the best-of-seven series. Wiggins delivered a huge performance at both ends of the Warriors' Chase Center court, shooting 12-of-23 while hauling in 13 rebounds with two steals and a block.
The Warriors can clinch the championship when the series heads back to Boston for game six on Thursday. "We have two cracks at getting one win, but we also know how difficult it's going to be," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Nobody's celebrating but we are excited to be in this spot and we want to take advantage of it."
Kerr led the tributes for Wiggins, the Canadian former No.1 draft pick who has steadily become an integral part of the Warriors set-up since joining the franchise two years ago. "He loves the challenge. He loves the competition. And he's found such a crucial role on our team, and I think that empowers him," Kerr said. "He knows how much we need him, so he's been fantastic."
Wiggins led the Warriors scorers while Klay Thompson provided support with 21 points including five three-pointers. Gary Payton II (15 points) and Jordan Poole (14) both made double-digits from the bench.
Curry, the Warriors' talisman and front-runner for NBA Finals MVP, chipped in with 16 points but shot only 7-of-22 from the field, going 0/9 from three-point distance. It was the first time in Curry's playoff career he has failed to score a three-pointer and the first time he has drawn a blank from beyond the arc in any NBA game since 2018.
"I think Steph was probably due for a game like this," Kerr said. "But we've got a lot of talent and a lot of depth that can make up for that, and the guys did a good job of that tonight."
Warriors star Draymond Green, who had an improved performance despite fouling out in the fourth quarter, said Curry's display was good news for Golden State. "He's going to be livid going into game six, and that's exactly what we need," Green said.