The Golden State Warriors are one win away from their fourth championship in eight years. They trailed the NBA Finals 1-0 and 2-1, but have handed the Boston Celtics their first consecutive losses of the playoffs to take a 3-2 series lead.
The Warriors lost a 16-point lead in Game 5 on Monday, but recovered with a 13-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters and cruised to a 104-94 victory. Not only was Stephen Curry off the floor for most of that 13-0 run, but he failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time in 133 career playoff games. And the Warriors won by double-digits anyway, getting a huge game from Andrew Wiggins (26 points, 13 rebounds and some terrific defense).
One stat stood out from the rest as the Warriors put themselves in position to win a title when the series moves back to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday (9 ET, ABC).
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = % of available offensive rebounds obtained
30 points per 100 possessions — Difference between the Celtics’ offensive efficiency in wins (125.5 per 100) vs. losses (95.5).
Whether or not they’ve gotten a big game from Curry, the Warriors’ offense has been pretty consistent in this series, scoring between 106 and 115 points per 100 possessions in all five games. And they’ve actually scored slightly more efficiently in their two losses (110.6 per 100) than they have in their three wins (109.7).
But the Celtics’ offense has been up and down from game to game and, at times, from quarter to quarter. In Games 1 and 3, Boston scored 129 and 122 points per 100 possessions, respectively. In their three losses, they’ve been held to just 90, 101 and 96 per 100. Those are three of their five worst offensive games of the postseason.
The difference has been about shooting (with similar differentials both in and outside the paint), turnovers (the Celtics are 1-7 in the playoffs when they’ve committed 16 or more turnovers) and offensive rebounding.
Celtics’ efficiency & 4 factors, wins vs. losses, Finals
They drew fouls in Game 5, but the Celtics (who ranked second in free-throw percentage in the regular season) shot just 21-for-31 (67.7%) from the line on Monday. That included a 4-for-9 mark in the first half, when the Celtics scored just 26 points on their first 38 possessions (68 per 100). Though the offense picked up late in the half, it was still their second least-efficient half (39 points on 48 possessions) of the playoffs.
Then the Celtics won the third quarter for the first time in this series, scoring almost as many points (35 on 26 possessions) as they did in the first half. After missing their first 12 3-point attempts of the game, the Celtics made eight straight spanning the second and third periods.
The Celtics made 8 straight 3-pt FG after starting 0-12 from 3.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 14, 2022
But the offense disappeared in the fourth, when the Celtics failed to score on their first seven possessions as a one-point deficit ballooned to 11. They scored twice to get back within seven, but then scored just one point (going 1-for-4 from the line) on their next seven trips down the floor. They shot just 2-for-7 in the paint in that final period.
Coming into this series, the Warriors’ end of the floor was the more interesting one from an X’s and O’s standpoint. But it’s been the Celtics’ end that has determined how the series has gone. One loss from seeing their season end in disappointment, they’ll have to find some more offense in Game 6.
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