In Game 5, the Warriors React to Stephan Gary Payton II's Huge Contribution
In the dying stages of Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors were pleasantly delighted to see Gary Payton II play like a seasoned veteran.
The Golden State Warriors defeat the Denver Nuggets in five games, with Stephen Curry scoring 30 points in his first start of the playoffs.
The Golden State Warriors needed a boost from somewhere other than the usual suspects in order to come back from a double-digit deficit against a desperate Denver Nuggets squad.
Gary Payton II stepped up to provide Golden State the final push it needed as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson took over the reins to keep the Warriors ahead in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
Payton II led Golden State to a 102-98 Game 5 victory over the Nuggets, scoring 15 points in 26 minutes of action. Following the game, Payton II's coach and teammates expressed their appreciation for his contributions.
Curry stated, "You could sense we were pushing a little bit."
"We've all been there before, Draymond [Green], Klay [Thompson], and [Kevon Looney], and we love the competition and the environment. It's also a reminder of things like this — it was simply a strange sensation because we hadn't been there in a long time. We really wanted it this time. We made things more difficult for ourselves."
Green sank a 26-foot 3-pointer at the 6:20 minute of the third quarter to get the Warriors within six points of Denver. It gave them the impetus they needed to resurrect themselves and the structure.
"We went on a run and reduced it to one, but they eventually increased it to eight. But we knew right then and then that we'd gotten some traction "Green remarked. "We were able to get the game at the speed we desired."
When the fourth quarter began, the Warriors were behind eight points, but they outscored Denver 32-20 and outshot the Nuggets 63 percent to 53 percent from the field to secure the series-clinching victory.
The Warriors' biggest adjustment was getting stops without fouling. The Nuggets had made 23 free throws to the Warriors' 16 at that time.
"We were able to get the game at our speed once we stopped fouling," Green added. "It appeared to be more like Games 1 through 3 than Game 4."
The Warriors also switched to a box-and-one defense, which finally stymied the Nuggets' offense. Instead of facing a set Denver defense each possession, the Warriors were able to push the pace and play in transition, allowing them to get into their offensive flow.
Curry scored 11 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and had a hand in 10 of the Warriors' 15 crucial shots.
Thompson stated, "I have so much faith in Curry." "Tonight, some of the 3s he was making were unbelievable. Making the pocket pass, as well as getting to the rim. Steph Curry is a one-of-a-kind player, and you'll probably never see another like him again."
Curry's first start of the postseason came in Game 5, which also marked the debut of the Warriors' suddenly devastating small-ball lineup. Before Looney checked in for Jordan Poole, the unit's first stint lasted only 312 minutes. However, because to early fouling, the Warriors didn't play that combo very much.
Green had 11 points, six assists, three blocks, and a steal to Thompson's 15 points.
Gary Payton II, who came off the bench and gave the Warriors a huge lift, was the game's biggest game-changer.
When asked to characterize what Payton contributed to the game, Golden State coach Steve Kerr replied, "I don't know where to begin on that one." "In the fourth quarter, his defense was outstanding. That is why I chose to stay with him. But then he started draining three-pointers and going to the hoop for a few layups. I thought he was a key impact in the game and deserved to stay out there with the way he was playing, so we kept him out there for the entire fourth quarter and he came through big time."
Payton scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including a wide-open 3-pointer to give the Warriors a crucial 86-84 lead heading into the closing stretch. With just under a minute left in the game, he nailed another three to put the Warriors up five.
All the Warriors had to do was wrap up their first-round series against the Nuggets in Chase Center's first closeout game after blowout victories in Games 1 and 2 and then two squeaked-out games in Denver — one win and one loss.
Contest 5 was, according to Thompson, a "must-win" game. It wasn't a win-or-go-home situation, but it was evident that Golden State couldn't give the Nuggets any more life by returning to Denver.
In Game 5, the Warriors allowed Denver to hang around a little longer than they intended, but they still won.
"Hopefully, this is just the beginning," Thompson said. "Obviously, we're not satisfied, but it's something we can be proud of. Especially after being injured for the past two years and not having our entire squad together. It's such a terrific playoffs again now that we're practically whole, and we're looking forward to the next round."
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