NBA Finals Game 5: Can Celtics respond as Steph Curry, Warriors return home?

·4-min read

TV: 9 p.m. ET | ABC

BetMGM Line: Warriors -3.5

The NBA Finals are headed back to the Bay Area all tied up, which should make for a tense Game 5 of the series on Monday night.

After escaping Boston with a split against the Celtics thanks to a win Friday, the Golden State Warriors are in a great position to jump up 3-2 now that they are back at the Chase Center. The Warriors are two wins away from their fourth title in eight years. Meanwhile for the Celtics, a win Monday would set Boston up to clinch their 18th championship at home for a Game 6 on Thursday night.

Here’s what you need to know for Game 5:

Slowing down Steph Curry, Warriors

As we’ve seen so far this series, stopping Stephen Curry is a near-impossible task. The Celtics haven’t been able to do it. If Curry rolls out a performance on Monday like he did in Game 4, the Celtics will struggle.

Curry, after hurting his foot in Game 3, dropped 43 points and 10 rebounds with seven 3-pointers in Friday’s win. It marked the second-most points he has scored in a Finals game. Golden State’s offense, as it usually does, ran almost exclusively through him.

Though Curry has scored at least 29 points in each Finals game, Friday was special — and something that Boston can’t let happen again, no matter how hard it may be to slow him down.

“We all know what he can do outside of 20 feet, 35, 40 feet. That dude is special in that regard,” Celtics star Marcus Smart said Sunday. “The way that he’s able to affect the game by being able to run around and play off the ball and get himself open. It’s just tough on a defender because you can’t take a break. You think that he’s not doing anything, the play’s over for him, and that’s when you get beat … He’s got the whole package, and you have to be able to guard the whole thing he has, and not many players can do that.”

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors after Game 4 of the NBA Finals
Stephen Curry and the Warriors will host the Celtics on Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Robert Williams injury update

Celtics big man Robert Williams has been a key contributor this series when he’s been able to be on the court.

Williams has been dealing with a left knee injury for weeks now, and left Game 4 early Friday night for that reason.

Though he’s still listed as questionable, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was “optimistic” that Williams will be able to go full speed Monday. Williams had a similar diagnosis, and said he wasn’t sure what happened Friday that led to him being out early.

"Feeling good. A little sore, but on the side of the better days," he said Sunday, via NBC Sports Boston. "I was actually looking for the clip. I can't necessarily tell you if it was the jumping or the landing, but typical soreness, man. But like I said, I feel okay."

Williams had seven points and 12 rebounds in Game 4. He has averaged 6.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and three blocks per game in the Finals.

'Namaste Klay' ready to go on 3-year anniversary

Though it may not be a standard practice for the Warriors’ athletic training staff, Klay Thompson used an unusual method to heal his “mind, body and soul” after returning to San Francisco.

He jumped into the Bay.

It couldn’t have been warm, but hey, whatever works for him.

Monday’s game marks a special anniversary for Thompson. It will be exactly three years since he tore his ACL in the Finals, the first of two major injuries he sustained before returning to the court this season.

Though he admitted Sunday that he may take a brief moment to reflect before the game, Thompson is trying to move past it.

“When I step on that court, I wanna win, any means necessary,” Thompson said. “I don’t care how ugly or pretty it is … I’m not gonna sing Kumbaya or anything. I just wanna freakin’ win.”

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