Warriors zero in on another title in Game 6 vs. Celtics

The Golden State Warriors go into Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Boston on Thursday with even greater determination as a fourth title in eight seasons is at stake.

Most of that lead belongs to Warriors star Stephen Curry as he takes on hosts Celtics. In Golden State’s 104-94 win in Game 5 on Monday at home in San Francisco, the long-distance shooter failed to make a 3-point basket.

The Warriors were still one win away from a championship with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series despite shooting from long range as a team 9 of 40 (22.5 percent). Curry went 0 out of 9.

“Obviously that bothers me as a shooter,” Curry said. “You want to influence the game in that way. Luckily, that’s not the only thing you do out there on the pitch.”

Instead, the Warriors played quality defense in Game 5, holding the Celtics in the game to 39 points and 41.3 shooting percent in the first half. They shared the ball with 23 assists and only had seven turnovers to 18 for Boston.

Just don’t expect this to be the new way forward.

“Obviously the track record says I’ll shoot the ball better next game,” said Curry, whose record streak of 132 straight playoff games ended with a 3-pointer. “I’m looking forward to this setback.”

A determined mindset will not be reserved for warriors, of course. Boston heads home to extend the series to a Game 7 on the west coast.

A championship would give Boston an 18th banner hanging in the rafters, which would be their most consistent ever. They are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers at 17 championships apiece but haven’t won one since 2008.

While the Warriors are heavily curried, the Celtics lean on Jayson Tatum, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Game 5 loss.

Behind Tatum’s average of 26.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game in the playoffs, the Celtics were on a wild ride. Since defeating the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, they haven’t won a home game in the next three rounds and are 3-2 at home since the start of the Conference Finals.

Boston protected its home court to win Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks but lost at home with a chance to eliminate the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals. They advanced by winning Game 7 on the road.

“You know, I’ve said it before: you better be confident, right?” said Tatum. “We don’t have to win two in one day. We only have to win one game on Thursday. We’ve been in this situation before. So it’s not over yet. We have to win on Thursday. That’s all we have to worry about for now.”

The Celtics changed their coverage of currying off the Warriors’ pick-and-rolls, but now they’ve lost that element of defensive surprise ahead of Game 6.

While it kept Curry at bay, Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins had a team-high 26 points to go with 13 rebounds. Klay Thompson had 21 points for the Warriors and was 5-of-11 from 3-point range.

“Yes, better work on him; a bit more physical there,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said of Curry’s defense. “Overall it’s solid work for him, but I also don’t know if it was our defense that hurt us as much as the offensive struggles (in Game 5).”

– Field level media

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