TV: 9 p.m. ET | ABC
BetMGM Line: Warriors -3.5
The NBA Finals return to the Bay Area in a tie, 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 on Friday, the Golden State Warriors are in a great position to jump 3-2 now that they’re back at the Chase Center. The Warriors are two wins away from their fourth title in eight years. For the Celtics, meanwhile, a victory on Monday would set Boston up to clinch its 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 in this series, stopping Stephen Curry is an almost impossible task. The Celtics haven’t been able to do it. If Curry puts on a performance Monday like he did in Game 4, the Celtics are in trouble.
Curry, after hurting his foot in Game 3, had 43 points and 10 rebounds on seven 3-pointers in Friday’s victory. He scored the second most points he has ever scored in a Finals game. Golden State’s offense, as is often the case, ran almost exclusively through him.
Although Curry has scored at least 29 points in every Finals game, Friday was special, and something Boston can’t let happen again, no matter how hard it is to stop.
“We all know what he can do outside of 20, 35, 40 feet. That guy is special in that sense,” Celtics star Marcus Smart said Sunday. “The way he can affect the game by being able to run and play off the ball and open up. It’s hard for a defender because you can’t take a break. You think he’s not doing anything, that the play is over for him, and that’s when you get beat… He has the whole package, and you have to be able to defend everything he has, and not many players can do that.”
Robert Williams Injury Update
Celtics big man Robert Williams has been a key contributor in this series when he’s been able to get on the floor.
Williams has been dealing with a left knee injury for weeks and left Game 4 early Friday night because of it.
Though still listed as questionable, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was “optimistic” that Williams will be able to go full throttle on Monday. Williams had a similar diagnosis and said he wasn’t sure what happened Friday that caused him to leave early.
“I feel good. A little sore, but on the side of the best 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 jump or the landing, but typical pain, man. But like I said, I feel fine.”
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 for his 3-year anniversary
Although it may not be 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 might not 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 suffered before returning to the court this season.
Although he admitted Sunday that he can take a brief moment to reflect before the game, Thompson is trying to get over it.
“When I step on that court, I want to win, by any means necessary,” Thompson said. “I don’t care how ugly or pretty it is… I’m not going to sing Kumbaya or anything. I just want to fucking win.”