Even on a night without a lucky hand at Stephen Curry’s, the Golden State Warriors took a giant step towards the NBA title. Without a single converted three in nine attempts, the basketball superstar remained well below his usual level on Monday evening (local time) and was still able to celebrate a 104:94 against the Boston Celtics.
The Warriors are just one win away from their seventh title in history. “He didn’t hit any of nine threes. He’ll be furious. And that’s exactly what we need before game six,” said Curry’s teammate Draymond Green ahead of the game in Boston on Friday (3:00 a.m. CEST).
“Even for the best shooter in the world there are games like this. Luckily not that often,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Curry only scored seven of his 22 attempts, three days after his 43-point gala in Boston there were only 16 points in front of the home fans. The fact that the Celtics were still 16 points behind in the first quarter and that even an outstanding race to catch up in the third quarter with a lead of up to five points was not enough for them seemed like a preliminary decision immediately after the duel in the Chase Center. “It was more than just a run, they basically dominated the whole quarter – it was huge that we still went into the last quarter with a lead.” Jordan Poole scored when the clock was running out.
The message everyone heard: Even without Curry in top form, the Warriors can beat Boston. Andrew Wiggins in particular had a strong evening and delighted the loud fans in the Chase Center both offensively and defensively. He scored 26 points, got twelve of his 13 rebounds in defense and two stolen balls. Klay Thompson had 21 points, Gary Payton II had 15 and Poole had 14. “I can read the whole list out loud – the whole squad did their part,” said Thompson.
While the Warriors, tried and tested in the Finals, were able to be celebrated by the fans, the Celtics crept off the floor, dejected and frustrated. “It’s about consistency for us and we don’t have that for a whole game,” criticized Celtics coach Ime Udoka, who again completely dispensed with national player Daniel Theis. Above all, the many – 18 – ball losses hurt the guests enormously. Golden State only had six. “We’re all frustrated with tonight, but the good news is we’ve been in this situation before and we’ve made it. So let’s do that again,” said Udoka. In the previous rounds, the Celtics were only one defeat away from the end and still made it into the finals.