The Boston Celtics are one game away from elimination. Another rough fourth quarter doomed them in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors, who again took over down the stretch to win by a 104-94 final Monday night and take a 3-2 lead in the 2022 NBA Finals.
Golden State took a 75-74 lead into the fourth quarter, then ripped off 10 straight points to build a lead that the Celtics could not overcome. On a night Stephen Curry took a step back (16 points), Andrew Wiggins came up big for the Warriors with 26 points, while Klay Thompson added 21 for his third straight productive offensive effort.
The biggest story for the Celtics coming out of this game, besides another fourth-quarter collapse, will be their overall offensive sloppiness. They lost the turnover battle by a staggering 18-6 margin and shot just 41.3 percent as a team. They were even worse from the free throw line, at just 67.7 percent (21-of-31). Jayson Tatum overcame early problems to finish with 27 points on 10-of-20 from the field, but Jaylen Brown’s off night (18 points on just 5-of-18 shooting) leaves a sting.
Tatum got off to a puzzling start offensively. He didn’t attempt a shot until 2:06 remaining in the first quarter, and didn’t come alive until late in the second, when he scored five late points to get to 13 at the half. Golden State took advantage of the slow start for both Tatum and Brown (four first-half points), taking a 51-39 lead into halftime.
The Celtics battled back into the game in the third quarter after a slow first half, thanks to Tatum suddenly catching fire. Tatum hit three straight three-pointers at one point, and Marcus Smart and Al Horford shortly followed. A Grant Williams block of a Stephen Curry three, followed by a lay-in and good free throw, briefly gave the Celtics a five-point lead at 66-61.
From that point, the Warriors answered from three with two makes each by Thompson and Jordan Poole to finish the third quarter with a one-point lead. They carried that momentum over to the fourth for the ensuing game-deciding run. After the C’s went up 66-61 in the third, the Warriors closed the game on 43-28 run.
The 2022 NBA Finals now shifts back to Boston for Game 6, with the Celtics down 3-2 and facing elimination. Golden State will be going for its fourth NBA championship in eight seasons and first since 2018. This is the second time in this playoff that the C’s have gone down 3-2 in a series. They previously won Games 6 and 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round.
Game 6 takes place at TD Garden on Thursday night, with tip-off set for 9 p.m. ET. You can get the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, starting with pregame coverage at 8:30.
PHOTOS: Celtics battle Warriors in Game 5 of 2022 NBA Finals
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at email@example.com.