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Player Grades: Warriors vs. Kings Game 5

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance from the team’s 123-116 win over Sacramento.

Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins celebrating Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Well, they did it. They finally did it. In the most important game of the year, the Golden State Warriors proved they actually can win on the road, beating the Sacramento Kings 123-116 to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

It was tense and dramatic, but also masterful.

Let’s grade the players who put in work. As always, grades are weighted based on my expectations, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that player.

Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. League-average TS this season was 58.2%.

Kevon Looney

35 minutes, 4 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 50.0% TS, +8

It seems that every day Looney finds a new way to impress us. Sometimes it’s with his ability to play every game. Sometimes it’s with his ability to scale back his role and happily come off the bench.

And sometimes it’s with his ability to play heavy starter’s minutes instead of the 23.9 minutes he averaged during the season. And more importantly, to look just as good in the 35th minute as in the 1st.

Through five games, Looney has 72 rebounds, 25 assists, and 6 turnovers. And that doesn’t even measure his biggest contribution, which is the defense he’s played on three-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis, while single-handedly stopping the whole “Alex Len is giving the Warriors problems” thing.

On a team loaded with All-Stars, nine-figure contracts, and future Hall of Famers, it’s Looney who’s leaving me without words.

Grade: A+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.

Andrew Wiggins

39 minutes, 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 9-for-16 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 62.5% TS, +10

Wiggins’ stats may have been modest, but his overall impact was anything but. He was active and effective in every phase of the game. Down the stretch he was part of some masterful defensive possessions, and he had perhaps the biggest shot of the game.

Sure doesn’t seem like he was out two months, does it?

Grade: A

Steph Curry

42 minutes, 31 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 fouls, 12-for-25 shooting, 2-for-10 threes, 5-for-6 free throws, 56.1% TS, +4

It was a pretty inefficient game by Curry’s ludicrous standards, but it also was a game where he felt fully in control. And down the stretch, with Curry playing a huge number of minutes, the two-time MVP seemed to only gain energy and, not surprisingly, swagger.

The Kings mostly erased a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, yet every time the game hung in the balance, Curry grabbed the ball and you felt instantly at ease. He made the biggest shots when they mattered most.

What a star.

Grade: A-

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.

Klay Thompson

32 minutes, 25 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls, 10-for-19 shooting, 5-for-11 threes, 65.8% TS, +14

If you watched this game without keeping an eye on the stats, you’d probably be surprised to learn that Klay only had 25 points. It just felt like he scored so much more than that. And that’s because every bucket of his was crucial.

He dropped in 11 points in the second quarter when the Warriors were starting to lose sight of Sacramento. He had big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter every time the Kings started to close the gap.

10 times he made a shot, and 10 times that shot might you take a gigantic exhale and have faith in the team again.

And now he gets to go home and be Game 6 Klay, with a chance at clinching the series, in front of the home crowd.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.

Jordan Poole

23 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 foul, 4-for-12 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 1-for-3 free throws, 37.5% TS, +2

Poole had a very rough go of it from a scoring standpoint, but he did so much to help the Warriors win nonetheless. His playmaking was stellar, and it was just the fifth time all season that he’d gone a whole game without a turnover. He had some decent defense and, despite the inefficient scoring, did a great job of not forcing the issue.

Grade: B-

Draymond Green

32 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 8-for-10 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 4-for-8 free throws, 77.7% TS, +13

There have always been two sides to Draymond, and this year is no exception. There’s the side of him that punched his own teammate at practice and got ejected in Game 2, warranting a suspension in Game 3. Those are acts that appear selfish, and unequivocally hurt the team.

Then there’s the side of him that, when he returned from suspension, suggested to Steve Kerr that the Warriors continue to start Poole — a young player who didn’t have a particularly good season — and bring himself off the bench. That spent all of Wednesday setting up his teammates and playing all-world defense.

Green’s decision to come off the bench may help save the season. Not because the Warriors couldn’t have won with him starting, but because of the message it sends. Selflessness. Trusting each other. Believing in something. Understanding that every win looks different.

Of course, scoring the most points he’d scored in three and a half years, and playing some of the best defense down the stretch that you will ever see also helped.

Grade: A+

Gary Payton II

16 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 foul, 4-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 80.0% TS, 0 plus/minus

There was a stretch in the second half where it felt like Payton had two rebounds every possession for like four minutes.

Right now he’s mostly effective in certain matchups and in short bursts, but when he’s effective ... my goodness is he effective. Can you think of a better cutter, a better pound-for-pound rebounder, or a more terrifying perimeter defender?

Grade: A-

Donte DiVincenzo

17 minutes, 2 points, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 fouls, 1-for-5 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 20.0% TS, -11

The good news is that after spending all year talking about how DiVincenzo was playing himself into a contract too large for Golden State, he’s spent the playoffs playing himself back to opting into next year’s deal.

I’m joking, obviously, but you get the point: it hasn’t been the best series for DDV, though his numbers look a lot worse than he’s played. He certainly wasn’t an impact player in this game, though when your worst rotation player is DiVincenzo, you’re probably in good shape.

And the Dubs are in good shape.

Grade: C-

Moses Moody

4 minutes, 2 points, 1 assist, 1 block, 2-for-2 free throws, 113.6% TS, -5

Moody got some early run, and then that was it. I thought he looked really good, and he made a highlight-reel block.

Grade: B+

Wednesday’s DNPs: Patrick Baldwin Jr., JaMychal Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Anthony Lamb

Wednesday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Ryan Rollins

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