The Golden State Warriors added another high profile victory into their dynasty’s treasure chest, protecting Oracle Arena and seizing a 3-2 series lead over the desperate Houston Rockets.
There are many contenders for the standout Warrior player for the evening. I was unable to choose one on my own because I loved them all equally, so I ask of your help Dub Nation. Who was the most wondrous Warrior of all?
Kevin Durant: 22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists
As the Warriors 20-lead evaporated under a storm of stupid turnovers, Steph Curry bricks, and Rockets’ three-pointers, the dizzy champs turned to their 7-foot assassin for help. Durant emphatically took over a huddle, transmitting his vision to his rapt teammates. He took Draymond Green aside on the court and intently explained how he expected Green to pass him the ball through the Rockets’ grabbing pressure.
When Durant drilled his billionth mid-range contested jumpshot of these playoffs, it was his 22nd point of the evening, just another huge bucket in a postseason full of them. When he immediately turned around and reached for the back of his right leg, it was the first time true fear had struck Oracle Arena since Kyrie Irving’s dagger in the 2016 Finals.
The Warriors announced Kevin Durant suffered a right calf strain after he exited Game 5 during the 3rd quarter. pic.twitter.com/3rSHn2g9FV— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 9, 2019
Durant gave everything he had to keep the Rockets at bay in the Bay, to the point that he sacrificed his body for the Golden Empire. Our unstoppable weapon is on the shelf for now, but his competitive fire kept the Warriors in the game for as long as he was on the court.
Give this man a max contract!
Steph Curry: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
The golden child of the Warriors dynasty had an egregiously terrible 2 1⁄2 quarters. Blown layups, clanked treys, and buffoonish turnovers had all of Dub Nation wondering if all the fingers on his hands were broken.
Steph Curry half time stats— Sports Gifs & Videos (@Supreme_Gifs) May 9, 2019
2/8 field goals
1/6 from 3
Time to take out the contact lenses?? #DubNation #warriors pic.twitter.com/2P7MqsVAX9
2019 Stephen Curry the biggest fraud I ever seen in my life— DJ (@djlm5_) May 9, 2019
When Durant was helped off the court and the Rockets appeared to seize the momentum in front of a stunned Oracle Arena, Curry refused to play like trash anymore. He shook off the cobwebs and terrorized the Rockets like it was 2015, his first MVP season.
Let's talk about how clutch Steph Curry was after Kevin Durant left the game. He finally stepped up and it was so damn gratifying to watch. pic.twitter.com/N0pFzirH5z— Chris Montano (@gswchris) May 9, 2019
20 clutch second-half points from Curry reminded us all that he’s still capable of being the most dangerous weapon in the NBA on any given night.
Klay Thompson: 27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals
It’s amazing that despite Durant and Curry’s heroics, neither of them finished the game as the high scorer for the champs. That honor belongs to Thompson, who started off the game by lighting the Rockets up with insane deep shots.
Back-to-back #SPLASH from @KlayThompson— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 9, 2019
He was a bulwark for the Warriors defense as well, bodying up on Houston’s dribblers and forcing the their guards into tough shots. He also had the most Klay moment of the series so far, stepping out bounds and wildly flinging a pass to no one in the final seconds of the game when all he had to go was get fouled and clinch the game with free throws!
Even more hilarious was the skirmish that looseball started ended with ball in Thompson’s hands under the basket, double-teamed, where he gently laid it off the glass to cinch the game. It was unusual, gutsy, dangerous, but ultimately resulted in a key bucket. I think that pretty much sums up Thompson’s epic Warriors career.
Give this man a max contract!
Draymond Green 8 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists
Green had the highest plus/minus (+12) of any player in this game. He was the motor behind the Warriors hot start early on, running the point forward role like another Michigan State baller, Magic Johnson.
Draymond Green has 7 assists in 8 minutes, 28 seconds— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) May 9, 2019
His defense and hustle was truly sublime. One moment he was swarming Houston center Clint Capela, the next he was setting a bulldozing screen to get Thompson open. Whenever Chris Paul started a flopping antic, Green was right there to bark in his face and push him back.
If you want to sum up Green’s tenure as a Warrior, look no further than a fascinating sequence late in the fourth quarter with the game hanging in the balance. With just under four minutes to play, the Warriors clung to a slim lead as CP3 attacked Green off of the dribble. Of course, CP3 no longer has enough youth in his knees to actually crossover a former defensive player of the year, so he just slammed his elbow into Green’s gut for a charge.
Green celebrates by getting a measure of payback with a knee to the side of CP3’s head.
Draymond Green : 8 points on 3-8 shooting, 2-4 from 3, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, a technical foul & fouled out in 40 minutes (4 technical fouls this postseason) pic.twitter.com/dKC7MflSWJ— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life25) May 9, 2019
The refs give him a tech, and Harden hits the ensuing free throw. Of course, Green responds by drilling a HUGE three-pointer and going absolutely berserk afterwards.
Draymond Green scores his 8th point of the game. pic.twitter.com/RQTfAqplQy— Taylor Griffin (@griffdunk) May 9, 2019
Give this man a max contract!
Honorable Mentions: Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney
Looney is about to get a max deal off this game— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) May 9, 2019
Soon as the final horn sounded, Klay Thompson walked straight up to Looney. Game recognizes game. Looney played his ass off.— Bonta Hill (@BontaHill) May 9, 2019
Andre Iguodala attacks and rocks the rim! #NBAPlayoffs #StrengthInNumbers 12#RunAsOne 12— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2019
: @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/hSnPNlUTBq
I honestly love Iguodala! He is clutch AF on defense and shows up when it counts on offense.— TamBam (@Tamar_NoBraxton) May 9, 2019
Which Warrior shined brightest against Houston in Game 5?
This poll is closed
Kevin Durant, the Martyr
Stephen Curry, the Golden Child
Klay Thompson, the Clutch Android
Draymond Green, the CP3 Hunter
Kevon Looney, the Elastic Man
Andre Iguodala, the Sage