Published On: Tue, Jun 11th, 2019

The Finals Stat, Game 5: Warriors shoot from deep to stay alive

The stat

20 — 3-pointers made by the Warriors in Game 5.

The context

The Raptors outscored the Warriors 54-32 in the paint, 21-10 from the free throw line, and 6-4 from mid-range. But from beyond the arc, the score was 60-32, as the Raptors had one of their worst 3-point shooting games of the postseason.

The Warriors’ 20 3-pointers were the second-most for a team in a Finals game in NBA history, fewer than only the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 24 in Game 4 of the 2017 Finals. In 26 Finals games prior to Monday, the Warriors — the greatest shooting team in NBA history — had never made more than 18 3-pointers.

The eight 3s the Warriors made in Game 4 of this series were tied for the fewest that they’ve made in 27 Finals games over the last five years. They came back three nights later (and on the road) to make more than twice as many, and they needed every last one.

It started with Curry on the Warriors’ very first possession of the game. He curled off a Draymond Green screen and drained a 3 from the top of the arc before Danny Green or Pascal Siakam could contest it. Not long after that, Durant hit a pair of 3s from the right side of the floor on back-to-back possessions. And then it was Thompson with two 3s of his own.

 

Kevin Durant nailed his first two shots, both 3s, after a long injury layoff.

Just four and a half minutes into the game, the Warriors had scored 19 points on nine possessions, shooting 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. That pace was unsustainable, but Durant hit another three before suffering his devastating injury.

Thompson finished 7-for-13 from beyond the arc on Monday and is now an amazing 20-for-35 from 3-point range in The Finals. Curry was 5-for-14 in Game 5 and, just as important, Green and Andre Iguodala were able to knock some down.

Iguodala was just 4-for-24 from 3-point range over his prior seven games, but hit one of his three attempts on Monday, a corner 3 off a Curry drive that put the Warriors up 10 midway through the third quarter.

At 12-for-53 (23 percent) Green remains the worst 3-point shooter among players with at least 25 attempts in these playoffs. But he was 2-for-4 from deep in Game 5, with a big one to put the Warriors up four midway through the fourth. That was the result of another Curry drive (and an extra pass from Iguodala).

Of course, it was Curry and Thompson who hit the three biggest shots of the night.

 

The Splash Bros. took over at the end of Game 5.

With the Warriors down six and less than three minutes to go in the game (and possible in their season), Curry drew two defenders to the ball on a right-side pick-and-roll, which left only one defender guarding the ensuing Thompson/Green pick and roll at the top of the key. That defender was Leonard, and he got screened by Green, allowing Thompson to step into a 3 from the left wing. Raptors 103, Warriors 100.

Two possessions later, Curry curled off a double-screen on the left side of the floor, gaining just enough distance from Fred VanVleet to launch a clean 3 off an Iguodala pass. Raptors 103, Warriors 103.

After Leonard missed a 3 of his own, Curry quickly got the ball up the floor and to Iguodala on the baseline. With the Raptors scrambling to recover, Thompson was wide open on the left wing. Two passes later, he side-stepped Leonard’s close-out and drained another 3 to give the Warriors the lead for good. Warriors 106, Raptors 103.

It was a 9-0 run that changed the game … and possibly the series. The Warriors turned the ball over on their final two possessions, but Green blocked a Lowry 3 at the buzzer to send The Finals back to Oakland for Game 6 on Thursday (9 ET, ABC).

The Warriors rank only seventh in the playoffs in the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range (38 percent). But when their season was on the line, they came up big from beyond the arc.