Heading into Game 5, a strong undercurrent of “the team that wins this game is going to win the championship” permeated the atmosphere and lent heavyweight power to every dribble, every shot, every minute of the game.
The Warriors won the ballgame 104-99, taking a 3-2 lead in the series and keeping alive a wild run where all five games have been decided by no more than four points nor fewer than six.
Which, well, series over, crown the Dubs champs as the first three-peat since the 2000-02 Lakers, right?
Wrong. Because Kevin Durant went down in the fourth quarter with an injury, and the biggest winner of Dubs-Rockets might very well have been the Milwaukee Bucks.
Durant strained his right calf, and now it falls to medical personnel to determine if it’s just a minor injury or if something far more scary happened to the mercenary’s leg.
But Golden State—who blew a 14-point halftime lead in the third quarter and came into the final frame tied at 72—did what they do, as Klay Thompson was clutch, Stephen Curry was (finally) clutch, and Draymond Green had a worth-it fourth technical of the playoffs to light a fire under the Warriors and help them pull out the victory.
Of course, it helped that Houston couldn’t crack 30 percent from three, shooting 12-of-41 (29.3 percent) in the contest. If we’ve learned one thing about Mike D’Antoni, it’s that he’ll live and die by that shot.
Durant had 22 points, Curry had 25, and Thompson had 27, the classic Triple-20 that the Warriors have posted in so many of their wins since Durant joined the team.
Highlights? Oh, you know it. Give it up for the men of the match:
Game 6: Friday (5/10), 9:00pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/5lwxWF1k2P
— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2019
Bye Bye Boston
Before we begin, a message to Celtics fans.
If your howling hyenas on WEEI, which is a cesspit even by sports talk radio standards, want to run Brad Stevens out of town, there’s a fanbase for the team whose coach your coach clowned in the first round who would love to have Stevens patrolling the sidelines.
He’s an Indiana guy, after all.
Now, fanboy switch off, writer switch back on.
Milwaukee clobbered Boston, getting to a rather unorthodox Bucks-in-5 after losing Game 1, but like the old saying goes, “shooting a bear with a .22 will only make it angry.”
Kyrie Irving cemented his status as the most overrated player in the NBA with yet another Iversonian stinker, scoring 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting and shooting no better than 36.4 percent in all four Boston losses.
The Celtics overall shot 31.2 percent from the field and 17.9 percent from three, losing the game and the series 116-91.
The Celtics surrendered. At no point during the game did they look like their presence in the second round was due to anything other than beating a lottery team that was the 5 seed only because they had 34 healthy games’ worth of Victor Oladipo to pad their record.
Boston didn’t look like they’d have beaten the Nets, Magic, or Pistons. But they lucked into the depleted Pacers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and a stellar plus-33 in 31 minutes on 8-of-14 shooting.
Khris Middleton had one of those sneaky-efficient games where he didn’t look like a great shooter (5-of-15) but somehow managed 19 points (2-of-6 3PT, 7-of-7 FT, for nine extra points over the 10 you’d get for hitting five two-point shots.)
Surprisingly, Patrick Connaughton was minus-1 in 28 minutes, a curiosity in a game the Bucks won in a laugher.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 9, 2019
Now here’s a galaxy brain thought for you.
What if Durant’s actually got a busted Achilles, the Warriors lose Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home as they no longer have their best player, the Rockets and Bucks make the Finals, and the whole thing leads to Antetokounmpo and James Harden competing on the field of battle to determine who is the real NBA MVP, the winner getting the Finals MVP trophy and a ring?
Wouldn’t that be fun?
All the highlights along the way are right here, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!