Demonstrating resolute confidence and perseverance throughout the game, Andrew Wiggins single-handedly removed the pressure from Stephen Curry and gifted him the best game of his eight-year career.
Now, the first-ever All-Star is on the verge of becoming NBA champion for the first time – and helping Curry win another title.
Wiggins had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Clay Thompson scored 21 points and the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 104-94 on Monday night for a 3-2 NBA final lead.
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“Coming this year, he was an all-star starter for a reason,” says Drymond Green.
“The bigger the challenge we put in front of him, the bigger he responds. You want a man like that. When the stage gets bigger, they respond and play their best basketball, and that’s what he’s doing. “
One game after his 43-point performance, Curry contributed 16 points and eight assists but none for nine from the three-point range.
The career-leading three-point leader’s NBA-record streak has ended at least one of the 132 straight seasons with the next game, as well as three of his regular NBA-best 233 consecutive games in the regular season and three playoffs.
“He’s going to get excited by going to Game Six. That’s what we need, “said Green.
Capping his great performance on both ends, Wiggins drove through the lane for a one-handed slam with two minutes left.
Coach Steve Kerr said: “He was great not only in this series, but throughout the playoffs.
The Warriors could win their fourth title in eight years if the series resumes in Boston on Friday. If the Celtics can win at home, the series will return to the Bay Area to win seven games on Monday. So far five games have been decided by 10 or more points.
Jason Tatum’s 27 points and 10 rebounds were for the Celtics, who lost the drawn game for the first time in the post-season. Marcus Smart was given a whistle for a technical foul and then an offensive foul shortly after the start of the fourth half. He surpassed a slow start to score 20 points.
Jordan Pool dropped a 33-foot three from the left-wing to beat the third-quarter market as the Warriors took a 75-74 lead after the Celtics returned to third in the last 12 minutes.
The Celtics have found their own third-quarter magic that has long defined Golden State’s success in the second half. Boston trailed 51-39 at the break and before returning with a 35-point outburst in the third.
With just six minutes left in the Al Harford three-pointer, it made it 58-55 as the Celtics finally found their shooting groove from the deep. Grant Williams’ three-point game soon gave Boston a 66-61 lead.
It was the eighth three in a row after missing Boston’s initial 12.
“Of course we weren’t as sharp as we should have been while we were there. It’s just hard, “said Harford.
“Of course now, our backs are against the wall, and we have to see what we’re made of.”
Jillian Brown was two wickets for 11 runs to start the game and finished with 18 points in five of 18 overs and missed five of her three-point attempts.
The night before halftime, Tatum gave Boston his first three-pointer and the Celtics were deeply wounded at 11 of 32 overall. The Celtics committed an 18-hour turnover and were steeply sloping.
“When we are at our best, it’s an easy ball movement. I think the third quarter showed that. The drive and kick were nice, working, the boys were getting wide-open shots, ”said coach Ime Udoka.
Golden State has nine out of 40 injuries from outside the arc – Wiggins not six. Curry failed to make three-pointers for the first time in 2018 after failing four attempts at a box rate of 134-111.
“One night he couldn’t do it. We found the offense somewhere else,” said Green, who had eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists before the foul had three minutes left.
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