Three Keys To Warriors’ Game 5 Win

By Jannelle Moore

The Golden State Warriors are often viewed through a distorted lens. For fans, their pupils are often at times dilated with well-deserved optimism and sometimes cynical but valid criticisms. For haters, their pupils are dilated with hyperbole, animosity, and agendas. 

The aftermath of Game 4 in this Warriors-Sacramento Kings first-round series magnifies some of these perspectives. I’m not an optometrist but I’m checking the vision of some of you regardless. Now, is this better?

Despite their disastrous end-game sequences, the Warriors took Game Four in a thriller. Stephen Curry led the ‘Dubs with an efficient  32 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Draymond Green led the way defensively, slowing the Kings’ D’Aaron Fox down the stretch.”

Or is this worse?

“Stephen Curry impersonated Chris Webber by calling a timeout that didn’t exist and nearly choked the game away. The Warriors were a Harrison Barnes three away from going down 3-1. Draymond Green played great defense but he smoked like 6-7 layups”

Regardless of your perspective,  what’s clear is that this series is tied 2-2 and headed back to Sacramento. In order for the Warriors to take control of the series, here are their keys to a Game 5 win.

Dictate The Pace

From the start of the series, the Kings made it adamant that they want to play fast against the Warriors. In the first two games, they dictated the pace. D’Aaron Fox is one of the quickest guards in the game and the team has younger and fresher legs than the defending champs. Sacramento is a plus-12 in fastbreak points for the series. Trying to keep up with the Kings’ frantic pace won’t beat them. Instead, the Warriors need to slow the Kings down by taking away their opportunities in transition. They can do so by limiting the turnovers and consequently giving the Kings an open court.  

The half-court game is advantageous to the Warriors. Offensively, they couldn’t be rushed and the Kings struggle to defend in the half-court. Defensively, the Warriors are solid there.  In Game 3, the Warriors played man-to-man defense for nearly the entire game and limited Fox to 26 points on 22 shots. They also forced Domantas Sabonis into 6 turnovers and held Malik Monk to 1-for-9 from the field. This is how the Warriors dictated the pace in Game 3, they will need this same energy and effort on the road tonight.

To Space Or Not To Space

Draymond Green decided to come off the bench for Game 4 not only because of Kevon Looney’s 20-rebound performance in Game 3 but also to increase space in the offense. In the traditional lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Green, and Looney, sometimes there is a lack of spacing and it hinders the offense.  The Kings trapped and blitzed Curry for the bulk of this series, and with Green and Looney shrinking the floor, the offense stagnates.  

Jordan Poole started in place of Green and despite its drawbacks defensively, the Warriors had more spacing and were more effective offensively. 

However, Green started in the second half and defended Fox, and his presence on defense was a huge factor in their Game 4 win Going into tonight, should the Warriors roll out that three-guard lineup and concede defensively, or should they go to their traditional lineup and concede much-needed spacing against a Kings’ defense that will zero in on Curry at every turn?  Whatever the Warriors decide may be a pivotal factor in the outcome of this game.

Chef Cooks Early

In Game 4, Curry took 22 shots and scored an efficient 32 points. Granted, Sacramento defended him tightly and Poole (22), Thompson, (26), and Wiggins (18) provided balanced scoring. However, Curry sets the tone. For a pivotal Game 5, the Warriors need an aggressive decisive Curry to get to his spots.  I’d like to see him and Poole for that matter, attack the paint early and often. The Kings can’t consistently protect the rim, so the opportunity to attack is there.  Exploit mismatches when they are available. Curry played 42 minutes in Game 4, expect him to play anywhere between 39-43 minutes tonight. Within those minutes, 22 shots are a minimum.