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Warriors punish Lakers in Game 5, trail 3-2 as series heads back to L.A.
Did the champs just figure the Lakers out??
The Golden State Warriors staved off elimination another day, wrestling the Los Angeles Lakers into submission in Game 5, winning 121-106 at home in Chase Center.
This win was never in doubt for me and a chosen few here at the HQ. When our very own cpt nemo hollered at me in my recap of that devastating Game 4, I was resolute.
And on game day I never wavered; check the 4:25 PM time stamp from yesterday encouraging the DNHQ Slack gang.
And I was doubly confident once the DNHQ OG Goofus chimed in international style:
Been out of pocket visiting friends in Madrid, but in case it hasn’t been said, I think they purposely went down 3-1 so they can re-troll LBJ after all the “3-1” sh*t he and the Cavs served up.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So when the Dubs did actually win by 15 points and activated chasedown mode on LeBron’s 3-1 lead, it felt like everything was falling into place as predicted. But I do want to take a look a very specific reason the Warriors had so much success last night: Anthony Davis left the game in a wheelchair?
No no no that’s not it, and I do hope he’s alright as a fellow American. But seriously, a huge part of why the champs were so successful in staying alive last night was because they finally remembered it’s okay to attack the basket.
The calming power of paint attempts
Steph Curry is a whirling death machine who can strike anytime, anywhere, and make you pay. Just ask the Sacramento Kings about that. He calmly dropped 27 points and 8 assists on 50% shooting on the Lakers to lead the Warriors last night.
If only he could get some more scoring punch from his fellow guards. And no I’m not talking about Moses Moody who looks like he may be Golden State’s best young hooper in this series, and hit some clutch three-pointers last night.
And no I’m definitely not talking about Gary Payton II, who has changed the series since being inserted in the starting lineup with his grit, high IQ, and aggressivenss.
I’m talking about guards like Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole who have struggled mightily to find offense in this series apart from a hot Game 2 from Klay and an encouraging Game 1 performance from JP.
You know that feeling you get when you’re watching a Warriors game and you’re like “COME ON, GET TO THE PAINT AND STOP JACKING UP WILD THREES DAMMIT!”? The Lakers have been feasting off of those poor shots that don’t put threaten them with foul trouble or tire them out by having to defend multiple options.
We’ve seen it several times in this series where the Lakers methodically probe, bully, swing the ball, either find a quality shot or
flop draw a foul with constant rim attacks. If they don’t get the shot they want, worst come to worst they can barrel down into the lane with either quickness or brute force to create contact and put pressure on the Warriors to defend and the refs to make a call.
Meanwhile too often Golden State jogs the other way and hoists up an ill-advised heave that hits the rim with 18 seconds left still on the shot clock. Or swings the ball aimlessly around the perimeter out of fear that shot blocking menace Anthony Davis is lurking in the paint, leading to late shot clock chucking far away from the rim.
When those shots go in, the other team gets demoralized and the Warriors morph into beast mode Transformers who can win by 50 points. But when those shots DON’T hit with consistency, suddenly we’re wondering why the Dubs are blowing leads or getting blown out.
Let’s take a look a look at Klay and Poole who combined 8-for-30 from the field (3-of-12 from beyond the arc) in a must win Game 5. Let’s take special focus on how many of their shots came within the painted area around the bucket.
Klay’s G5 shot chart
Poole’s G5 shot chart
Hmmm a lot of errant perimeter jumpers here, not a ton of attacking the basket (although Poole did get some nice finishes in the lane). They also combined for only two free throw attempts.
Now you may be wondering how the Warriors blew the Lakers out and had them remove their starters deep in the 4th quarter as the onslaught was too great. Especially on a night where Klay and Poole couldn’t hit the ocean with a beach ball.
Enter Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, who took on the challenge of being the point of attack defenders on Anthony Davis and LeBron James, while firing back with some physicality and attitude of their own. Green finished the game with a strong double-double on 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block in 30 minutes. Wiggins had 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal.
Those are big time numbers from two former All-Stars. Let’s check THEIR paint touches from last night, eh?
Dray G5 shot chart
Wiggins’ G5 shot chart
Hmmm a lot of aggression and finishing around the rim for Golden State’s two highly paid forwards. They also combined to shoot eight free throws, making them all.
I don’t see any perimeter defensive menaces on this Laker team. If the champs keep forcing Anthony Davis and LeBron James to move their feet to account for the mediocrity of their perimeter defenders, we have seen L.A. eventually break. These guys are a damn #7 seed after all, attack them!
If the Warriors remember the principle of downhill attacking to generate offense and put pressure on the opposing defense in Game 6, they will absolutely emerge victorious from Los Angeles Friday night. These are the types of games you want so badly when you truly believe in your team; go into a rival’s arena and silence the crowd with a big win.
But if you don’t believe the Warriors are built this year to get the job done, at least take solace in this: they’ve won a road game in 28 straight playoff series. This is their last chance to get one in this series…they’re due! Right?