Game 5 was one of many emotions, as we saw Kevin Durant go down with a massive injury that will likely keep him out long term. Injury aside, the Warriors were able to force one more game back at the Oracle Arena where they will have a shot at forcing Game 7. We will avoid the speculation of Durant’s ability to play, and can easily confirm starting lineups over the next game. We will see DeMarcus Cousins shift back into the starting lineup, and that slides Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala back down into their usual forward positions.
The bench is still a major concern, but this series now has a weird vibe to it. A tide might be turning for the Warriors to create their own 3-1 comeback. However, Toronto should be looking to end this series as soon as possible. Game 6 is going to be one for the ages.
Game 5 Warriors Recap
With the Kevin Durant warmups and dance before the game, there was an excitement in the air. A quick 11 points from Durant had the Warriors looking like the dominant team that we have seen over the last few seasons. A deflating blow to the series and league in general occurred, sending Durant out for the series. It was the best 12 minutes of basketball from a series standpoint, as we saw both sides at their complete strength. The final three quarters was a bit different.
Golden State looked sloppy at times, but they were able to take advantage of Toronto’s poor shooting. They were on the ropes with a few minutes left when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson hit clutch shots to tie and pull ahead late. The Warriors were able to hold on after a few turnovers and survived what looked to be Kawhi Leonard’s legendary moment. He went on a ten point run, but when the final shot needed to be taken, Golden State doubled him which forced a Kyle Lowry shot in the corner.
Warriors Starting Lineup
Stephen Curry, PG – Stephen Curry had a strong Game 5 performance, picking up the slack in the second half. As mentioned above, his stretch in the fourth quarter was tremendous. Curry once again saw a lot of Fred VanVleet, but saw the occasional Kyle Lowry and Danny Green. With Durant back out again, the usage is going to be through the roof for him and Thompson in a must win game. We should expect another 20+ shot attempt game, and he will need to do more on the defensive side if the Warriors want to win this game.
Klay Thompson, SG – Klay Thompson was lights out from three, going 7-13. He was -6 in the game and that wasn’t unusual for the Warriors players. They were able to steal this game. Thompson had some strong defensive stretches, and his play on Kawhi Leonard continues to be somewhat overlooked. Both offensively and defensively Thompson has been crucial. He will continue to see Green, Lowry, and Leonard guarding him, and has found his way to do some damage against most. Look for him to thrive in Game 6.
Andre Iguodala, SF – Andre Iguodala continued to start, as Draymond Green pushed to the five in Game 5. That won’t be the case for this one. He will move back and start at small forward. His defense was sneaky good in Game 5, and he had four blocks and a steal. He was also +3 , which was the only player above 30 minutes to be a positive. Iggy is going to need to hit some clutch shots if the Warriors want to have a chance. He hasn’t hit often, but Thompson and Curry will need some help from surrounding options. Of course this isn’t easy when Kawhi Leonard is finding his way on you defensively for most possessions.
Draymond Green, PF – Draymond Green had your usual Draymond Green like game. He finished with ten rebounds, eight assists, and ten points. His shot was falling like most of the Warriors, and he is another one who will need to turn it up offensively. Green should continue to run the offense and generate both guards off the ball. It is what we have seen from him for most of these playoffs. He was -2 in 41 minutes, but made some crucial defensive plays that won’t standout within the boxscore.
DeMarcus Cousins, C – Because Kevin Durant started Game 5, DeMarcus Cousins headed to the bench in favor of everyone shifting down. That won’t be the case this game. DeMarcus Cousins will have to start at center, but will likely have a short leash. Kevon Looney is questionable, but Steve Kerr has opted to roll with Andrew Bogut at times. Offensively, Cousins was able to have an impact, but still has zero movement to defend. Cousins should find himself around 20-25 minutes again tonight unless he looks extremely sluggish like in prior games.
We saw seven bench players in Game 5 for the Warriors, but that likely won’t be the case in Game 6. We will need to watch the status of Looney, where that would leave them thin in the front court. Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, and Alfonso McKinnie continue be the more dominant bench players.