SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of calmness among the Warriors heading into a do-or-die Game 5 Wednesday night.
The Warriors core has been down in a playoff series 3-1 only twice before, having experienced both outcomes.
“We know how to respond,” coach Steve Kerr said shortly before tip-off. “That’s the plan.”
The Warriors executed said agenda, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 121-106 to force a Game 6 in Los Angeles on Friday.
Draymond Green set the tone and Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins helped carry them home.
Heading into a potential elimination game, the Warriors leaned on their past experience. Wiggins said the confidence from the team’s leading trio — Green, Curry and Klay Thompson — was contagious.
They made “everyone believe that we can do this,” Wiggins said. “Day-by-day, game-by-game, possession-by-possession, just giving ourselves a fighting chance.”
The Warriors were aggressors, with Green playing a big part in getting the Warriors going early. He fouled Anthony Davis 20 seconds into the game, but didn’t let it scored eight of the team’s first 14 points, opening the game with a 3. He also got in the ear of several Lakers players, including Jarred Vanderbilt and Anthony Davis.
“That’s Draymond being Draymong,” Gary Payton II said. “As long as it don’t get crazy, we all got his back, let him talk, try to keep the refs out of it and let him do what he does.”
Still, the Lakers stuck with them, hitting tough shots over defenders. LeBron James drilled a 3 early in the second to give the Lakers their first lead since the opening minute. The lead would go on to change seven more times in the second; the game was tied six times.
The Warriors created separation over the last 4:37 of the half. Kevon Looney poked the ball loose from Davis on the Lakers’ final possession and delivered the ball to Stephen Curry, who dribbled down the clock before sinking a 3-pointer.
Curry’s basket capped off a 15-6 run and gave the Warriors an 11-point lead at the half.
Both teams shot above 54% from the field and 50% from deep in the first two quarters. Those numbers tapered off in the second half, but the Warriors’ energy didn’t.
All five Warriors starters finished in double-digit scoring, with Curry and Wiggins leading the way with 27 and 25 points, respectively. Wiggins also had seven rebounds and five assists.
“This was the best game Wiggs has played since he’s been back,” Kerr said. “The way he attacked, the way he got to the rim, that adds another dimension to our attack.”
Davis exited the game with 7:34 left after taking an inadvertent shot from Kevon Looney. He didn’t step foot on the court again, ending the night with 23 points and nine rebounds.
As Kerr pulled his starters later in the fourth, news broke that Davis was escorted out by wheelchair, putting his availability for the rest of the Western Conference series in question.
The Warriors stave off elimination and will have 48 hours to regroup and recharge before Game 6. Curry said the team will take stock of what happened in their two losses in Los Angeles and what worked in Game 5.
Even the mental prepartion is understanding that we’ve played well enough down there to have won both of those games,” Curry said. “Accepting our shortcomings there but also understanding we can make the necessary adjustments to hopefully get off to a good start in Game 6, give ourselves some momentum, put some pressure on them and bring the effort and the competitiveness and the same fire we had tonight. That’s the game plan. And again, just get lost in the game down there, because it’s going to be a fun atmosphere.”
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/05/10/warriors-stave-off-elimination-beat-lakers-in-game-5-to-send-series-back-to-la/