San Francisco – The Warriors were up for the challenge, facing elimination they proved tonight that they’re still the champs. Golden State kept their season alive by beating the Lakers 121-106. Draymond Green played his best game in the series scoring 20 points, while Andrew Wiggins added 25 to force a Game 6 back in Los Angeles this Friday.
“When he [Draymond] scores a certain number of points we usually win,” said Steve Kerr. “When he’s aggressive like that looking to attack it definitely adds another dimension to our team. I loved his approach to the game tonight. He was aggressive right from the start. Picked up a foul on the first play and didn’t care. Like made no bones about it. He’s like, I’m coming. I’m coming. I thought he was one of the keys, for sure.”
Green grabbed 10 rebounds and stayed out of foul trouble. He was smarter and more aggressive tonight, flourishing as the “floor general”. He tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds, his franchise-best 61st-career playoff double-double (Nate Thurmond – 36). It also marked Green’s sixth-career 20/10 playoff game (last, 5/18/19 at POR). He passed Jerry West (970) for 16th on the NBA’s all-time playoff assist list. Tonight marked his 15th -career game of 20-plus points in the postseason.
Gary Payton ll was added to the starting lineup for the past two games and his defensive presence has been a huge shift for the team. He creats space for Stephen Curry and can handle any defender thrown at him. Payton was a key component to helping the Warriors win an NBA championship last year. He recorded a playoff-career high four free throws. His 13 points were two shy of his postseason-career high of 15 (done three times).
“Well, Gary’s a game changer and we knew that last year,” Kerr explained. “We don’t win the championship without Gary. So to get him back has completely changed our defense. Against these guys he’s got the ability to get into their guards. They have great guard play with D-Lo and Reaves and Schröder.
Obviously Walker last game played so well. And Gary gives us someone who can get underneath their ball handlers and at least make them have to work. And then offensively he’s so unique with his speed and his ability to finish around the rim. So it’s just, we’re a different team now that he’s back with us.”
Tonight marked the sixth time Golden State has scored 120-or-more points this postseason and they are 5-1 in those games. The Warriors scored 70 points in the first half, their most in any half this postseason. Golden State improved to 4-0 this postseason when shooting 50%-or-better from the field.
“We defended better in the second half,” said Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. “They had 11 threes at halftime, ended up with 13 for the game. I just thought early on we had too many turnovers, gave them some gimmes, some offensive rebounds that turned into points for them, turnovers that turned into points for them. Just got to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and again, continue to get hits on offense in terms of setting screens and playing downhill and being ready to make a quick decision on catch.”
“Obviously they played exceptionally well here tonight, and we had some good moments, but not as close to 48 minutes as we needed to be, but we’ve got another opportunity on Friday, and we look forward to the matchup again,” said LeBron James.
Curry tallied a game-high 27 points, his 10th outing of 25-or-more points this postseason. He is averaging 30.3 points per game this postseason. Curry was named to his ninth-career All-NBA Team earlier today, the most All-NBA selections in franchise history (Rick Barry – six).
Wiggins recorded a 2023 playoff-career high 25 points, two shy of his career-high postseason mark (27, 5/22/22 at Dallas). It marked his ninth postseason game of 20-or-more points. Wiggins also had an agressive start which helped set the tone early.
“It’s the playoffs,” Wiggins said. “Every game’s going to be different. Every series is going to be different. I feel like the good thing about this team is that we have a bunch of versatile players that can do a lot of different things. Whether it’s screening and diving, popping offensively around the rim, shooting. I feel like we have a very versatile team.”
“He’s a game changer, for sure,” Wiggins on Payton’s offense. “Because he’s going to make the right plays, the right reads on offense. His defense speaks for itself. He’s a lockdown defender. Doesn’t matter who he’s guarding. He locks in.
Oh, yeah, his offense, he’s always going to make the right play. You know he’s going to make that open shot. Around the rim he’ll dunk you, finish. He’s talented on both sides.”
Up Next: The Warriors travel to Los Angeles to face the Lakers in Game 6 on Friday, May 12 (7 p.m. PDT).
Game 5 coaches press conference
Pregame press conferences for both Steve Kerr and Darvin Ham.
WARRIORS HEAD COACH STEVE KERR
ON STEPHEN CURRY BEING NAMED ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:
“No surprise. Happens every year. He deserves it every year. He’s Stephen Curry. Just another Wednesday.”
ON BEING DOWN IN A PLAYOFF SERIES BEFORE:
“Just being in the present. Bringing our best effort tonight, and going out and winning a home game, that’s what this situation is and then you worry about what’s next after that. But there’s no – you don’t look ahead. You just look at this game and this moment.”
ON THE STATUS OF DRAYMOND GREEN AFTER HITTING HIS HEAD IN GAME 4:
“I mean, that’s all stuff that our training staff deals with and so they’re comfortable with everything. Draymond’s feeling good, so everything’s good to go.”
ON THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE YOUNGER PLAYERS THIS SERIES:
“I mean this is all part of it. Every player has to go through it, not just young players. There are plenty of vet players who go through playoff series struggling and probably the hardest part of this job, I think, for these players is when the spotlight is really on you during the postseason and you have a rough, rough patch everybody is talking about it. If it happens in the regular season, nobody cares. They don’t even notice. And so part of it is just going through the experience and our job as, as an organization, is to support our players and help give them perspective and understanding about ways to get through stuff like this and all of that is in place.”
ON WHAT THE MESSAGE FROM THE PLAYERS OR COACHES WAS TONIGHT:
“Yeah, nothing that I would share here because that’s internal stuff, but yeah, our guys are ready. We’ve got, as was mentioned earlier, a lot of players on this team that have been in this situation before and this team was down two games to Sacramento just a couple weeks ago. So there’s experience there. We know how to respond and that’s the plan.”
ON FINDING THE RIGHT ROTATIONS AND MATCHUPS THIS SEASON:
“It’s something that we started to really deal with during (Andrew) Wiggins’ absence. That really opened the door for JK (Jonathan Kuminga) to play quite a bit. Then we traded for Gary (Payton II). And so getting Gary, back in the fold, only for the last seven games, with no Wiggs and then you end up with both of them, and after spending, most of the season, without either one of them, I think those are the driving forces behind this dynamic that you’re talking about. Every season is different and we knew coming back this year that our team was going to be different. Just with some of the vet guys who moved on, Otto (Porter Jr.) in particular. So this season has been disjointed in some ways given the personnel turnover. And that’s part of the challenge and yet at the same time we have a group now, that’s mostly intact from a year ago and we feel good about our team and where we are.”
LAKERS HEAD COACH DARVIN HAM
ON RESPONDING TO ALL OF THE ACTIONS THE WARRIORS RUN:
“I mean just having a variety of options that we can push the button on. Just whether it’s going into a game or in a game, having to do it during real live action. You know putting AD, and everyone, Bron (Lebron James), all our guys, in the best possible position where they can help us succeed while also being aware of different things they’re doing. Whether they’re putting guys on the ball more, off the ball more, where they’re kill zones are being executed from. Kill zones being scoring areas. So it’s a constant process to say the least and something that all of our coaches and players are truly locked in and keeping a keen eye on anything that may change for them or remain consistent.”
ON THE DIALOGUE WITH ANTHONY DAVIS ABOUT THEIR DEFENSE THIS POSTSEASON:
“It’s been great man. Just everybody locked in, giving their suggestions, giving feedback, and A (Anthony Davis) is always trying to go to an even higher level. So him saying in front of the group, saying to me one-on-one specifically like I can do more, I can do more, and he’s already doing a ton. So he’s really excited and gleeful when it comes to playing on that side of the ball. Obviously we know what he can do offensively. But he really enjoys playing defense and that’s something that’s a rarity now in this offensive heavy NBA that we work in. But when you find guys like that it’s really refreshing and it really helps your ball club.”
ON ANTHONY DAVIS NOT BEING ON AN NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM:
“I mean it is what it is. Those things are voted on and you ask him would you rather be on one of those teams and sitting at home or left off and still active letting the world see how well you play defense, and I think he’d choose the latter. He doesn’t care, only thing he wants to do is win.”
Photo by Warriors/Twitter
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