Man this game was a tough pill to swallow.
The Golden State Warriors lost Game 5 to the Houston Rockets 98-94 and will now have to win the final 2 games of the Western Conference Finals to get back to the NBA Finals.
This is unfamiliar territory for this rendition of the Warriors, as the team hasn’t faced an elimination game since the 2015-16 season when Kevin Durant was still in a different jersey. What they can take solace in however, is that they managed to come back from a deeper deficit against a very strong Oklahoma Thunder team that year.
To do so though will require an adjustment to the biggest plague the Warriors have been afflicted with all season-long — careless turnovers.
For all he does — including hitting a key late game 3-pointer, hauling down a monstrous 15 rebounds, and single-handedly being a defensive stopping force — Draymond Green also had 6 turnovers including the most costly one on the final possession that sealed the game for the Rockets.
Down 95-94, the Warriors had 2 possessions to either tie the game or take the lead. On the first possession, despite playing with a 5-on-4 advantage, Quinn Cook missed a wide open 3-pointer. Then on the final possession, Green just took his eyes off the ball on a pass from Stephen Curry and mishandled the catch.
In a game where the Warriors never felt like they had things under control, it was amazing that the team even found themselves in a position to steal this game in the final minute.
But if the team ends up missing the Finals, the costly mistakes made in the final quarter of the last two games will be the haunting memories we’ll remember.
Durant had his “worst” game of the series scoring 29 points on 22 shots. Curry ended up with 22 points and Klay Thompson worked his way from a cold start to tally 23 points.
But turnovers ultimately is what killed Game 5, as the Warriors gave Houston a 16-10 advantage in that column of the stat sheet.
The game opened up in incredibly ugly fashion as both teams found it difficult to put the ball through the hoop. Both teams combined to shoot only 35% from the field and 20% from 3-point range, but the edge in turnovers and free throw attempts helped give the Rockets a 6 point advantage going into the second quarter.
The star-laden backcourts of both teams really struggled as the Splash Brothers combined to go 0-for-4 while James Harden and Chris Paul went 1-for-7.
However, despite the off-putting first quarter performance, Steve Kerr was still happy where the team was, saying that with exception to the turnovers, the team was moving the ball around and getting good shots that just didn’t fall.
His words would bear fruit by halftime as the Warriors managed to win the second quarter and tie the game at 45 a piece. In the final minutes of the quarter, they finally began to string along solid offensive possessions with defensive stops to come back from a deficit that grew as large as 11.
The third quarter was a physical tug-of-war between both teams, as neither could pull away with the Warriors ending up with a 1-point lead.
Thompson finally broke through but so did Paul for Houston with the latter hitting some literally back-breaking Hail Mary 3-pointers.
But as a team, the Warriors finally began to find some seams and passing lanes to open up the floor for themselves. Meanwhile, the Rockets used an assortment of Eric Gordon iso possessions to counter this.
Despite going into the final frame with the lead, the Warriors offense stagnated in the first several minutes of the quarter while the Rockets rode the hot hand of Paul and Gordon to the finish line.
This series isn’t over yet and the Warriors have come back before. It’s just frustrating that they have now fumbled back-to-back chances at securing this series.
Game 6 is Saturday evening back at Oracle.
Strength in numbers, we believe.
Who was the Warrior Wonder for Game 5?
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