Wiggins Island protects Warriors in Game 5 win over Celtics
There are tender moments in this whole sportsball fandom thing that really touch ye olde heartstrings for me. Especially when it comes to Golden State fans, who are as passionately vocal as any group you’ll find.
When the Warriors lost Game 3 on the road and fell into a 2-1 deficit with Stephen Curry writhing on the floor in pain, I heard the worry from the fanbase. Boston’s relentless play stoked the fears every Warriors supporter has had about this roster since they had that B+ offseason: stars too old, lottery picks too young/injured, and their bigs too small Ernie (Charles Barkley voice).
Even here at Dub Nation HQ, the center of all GSW fandom, one of our community leaders Sabrina crystallized that anxiety in the recap comments:
“It's very odd how being down 2-1 feels like the series is over. Never did a series feel over even when the Warriors we're up 2-0.”
The responses to Sab’s thread were a rallying cry from DNHQ vets, a beautiful combination of comfort and encouragement that I quietly read with a smile on my face. I was pleased because this meant that finally the Bay’s team was facing a foe strong enough to cause true concern for the fanbase, a new challenge for a new band of Warriors. This is the fiery cauldron from which legends are made.
Now Golden State has emerged from that dark day with a 3-2 lead after overwhelming Boston 104-94 in a contentious Game 5 at Chase Center. And they did it with the same formula they built a dynasty with: hellacious defense intensity and unselfish teamball.
Welcome to Alcatraz
The Warriors limited Boston to 23 points or less in three of the four quarters last night. When the Celtics furiously surged to a 35-point third quarter effort with a barrage of threes, it felt less like the ominous bombing they inflicted in the fourth quarter of Game 1, and more like the desperate final gasp of a squad on the brink of destruction.
That’s because consistently the Dubs have kept Boston in check with a stingy defensive effort. The men in green shot 41.3% from the field and had the same amount of turnovers as assists (18). Boston only had 8 fast break points and 36 points in the paint, which means the Dubs halted both the pace and physicality aspects of the Celtics’ attack.
Jayson Tatum had 27 points and 10 rebounds last night with 4 turnovers, a game that looks pretty decent in the box score. But he was 1-for-5 in the fourth quarter as Andrew Wiggins and company hounded him into ugly shots.
Tatum’s running mate Jaylen Brown scored 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting from the field, which does not look good in the box score. He shot 1-of-4 in the final frame as Boston’s season was pushed to the brink.
For the series, Tatum and Brown are shooting 37% and 41% from the field respectively. GSW has limited Boston to 43% shooting from the field over the last five games, and it’s clear that if the Celts aren’t hitting hella threes in a row, it’s hard for them to find scoring opportunities against this Warriors defense.
Which is interesting because the Celtics were attacking allegedly poor defender Stephen Curry nonstop. Per NBA.com tracking data, Boston’s strategy didn’t pan out as they shot a paltry 3-of-12 against him. I THOUGHT HE WAS A BAD DEFENDER?!
Then again, who the heck else were they going to target? They were getting nothing easy when attacking other Golden State defenders. Here’s what the Celtics shot against the other Dubs (peep Draymond’s stats lmao):
VS Andrew Wiggins 10-of-22
VS Draymond Green 1-of-9
VS Klay Thompson 2-of-5
VS Gary Payton II 5-of-13
VS Kevon Looney 5-of-12
24-HOUR LOCKDOWN! SHOE PROGRAM! THEY WERE PLAYING BASKETBALL IN PELICAN BAY!
Curry can’t buy a three but Strength In Numbers rolls on
After an all-time epic performance in Game 4 on the road, Curry came back home and scuffled from deep, going 0-for-9 from beyond the arc. He shot 7-of-22 for the game, but added 8 assists and only turnover. Despite his shot being off, the Warriors picked up the huge win because his teammates were there to pick up the scoroing load. Klay Thompson poured in 21 points, Gary Payton II and Jordan Poole scored 15 and 14 points respectively off the bench.
But there was one man who carried them when they needed it most: ANDREW TWO-WAY ALL-STAR STARTER MAPLE JORDAN WIGGINS.
You knew when you were watching Wiggins save the Warriors season that you were basking in the prophecy that Dr. Tom and I shared with you June 17th, 2021 (which also happens to be my birthday):
Daniel: We were two of the early settlers of Wiggins Island. From the day he was first traded to the Warriors, you and I have been very vocally supportive of his presence in the Golden State. Just ask Draymond Green’s trainer! I must say I'm proud of our investment.
Dr. Tom: I mean, this is just our victory lap, isn’t it?
Daniel: I mean I feel like the lap could have been a bit more enjoyable had he won Finals MVP this year, but we'll have to wait till next season for that.
WELLP NEXT SEASON IS HERE NOW FOLKS. In the most important freakin’ game of the season, Big Wiggs led the team in minutes (43), shot attempts (23), shots made (12), points (26), rebounds (13), steals (2) and had 0 TURNOVERS. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!
LOOK AT HIM DOMINATE THE MID-RANGE AND THE PAINT! BEHOLD!
From now on I don’t wanna hear anything else about wasting Curry’s prime; let’s not waste Wiggins’ prime! He’s only 27 years old folks!
Okay okay I know y’all want me to pull out a receipt on the anti-Wiggins agenda, here’s how they used to talk about him:
sam esfandiari @samesfandiariA big difference w/ Spurs is they didn't have a 4th massive contract eating up space that could be used to sign role players. That + they weren't missing 1 of their big 3 for 2+ years w/ catastrophic injuries https://t.co/MtxHhR1Dx6
Aaand here’s how the narrative has changed:
Bwahahahaha! WIGGINS ISLAND IS AT CAPACITY, BABY!
TOO RICH TO LOSE?!
Wellp I predicted Warriors in 6, leaning towards 5. Boston was clearly disrespected by me even mention 5 games as a possibility, and I was wrong for that. The much more respectful “Dubs in 6” prediction is still VERY MUCH on the table if the Warriors can get a win in Boston.
Crazy to think that ESPN’s magical stat nerdery had us as the underdogs going into last night:
Which is funny because after the Celtics were defeated in Game 5, suddenly ESPN declared us the Yankees of basketball. You know, the elite franchise that just wins by writing checks?
GOTTA BEAT THEIR CHECKBOOK, EH? Well for all the fans handwringing about how we were gonna compete with all those luxury tax woes, now you can rest assured that the NBA is shook because of how deep Joey Lacob’s pockets are.
Hahah oh man it’s crazy how little people understand about Warriors basketball. But whether they are ignorant or not, let the splash rain down on them with righteous indignation until they are all swept away.
Let’s get this thing done. FINISH THEM!