Player Ratings: Game 5

Well they did. They finally did. In the most important game of the year, the Golden State Warriors proved they really can win on the road, beating the Sacramento Kings 123-116 to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

It was tense and dramatic, but also masterful.

Let’s appreciate the players who put in the work. As always, the grades are weighted based on my expectations, with a “B” grade representing this player’s average performance.

Note. True Shooting Percentage (TS) is a measure of scoring efficiency that reflects three-pointers and free throws. The league average TS this season was 58.2%.

Kevon Looney

35 minutes, 4 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block, 1 basket, 4 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 50.0% TS, +8

It seems like every day Looney finds a new way to surprise us. Sometimes it’s with his ability to play every game. Sometimes it has to do with his ability to minimize his role and happily come off the bench.

And sometimes it’s with his ability to play heavy starter minutes, rather than the 23.9 minutes he averaged per season. And more importantly, look as good in the 35th minute as in the 1st minute.

In five games, Looney has 72 rebounds, 25 assists and 6 steals. And that doesn’t even measure his biggest contribution, a defense where he played three-time All-Star Domant Saboni while stopping the whole “Alex Len is giving the Warriors problems” thing.

On a team loaded with All-Stars, nine-figure contracts and future Hall of Famers, it’s Looney who leaves me speechless.

Grade: A+

Postgame bonus: Led the team in rebounds.

Andrew Wiggins

39 minutes, 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 basket, 5 fouls, 9-16 shots, 2-5 threes, 62.5% TS, +10

Wiggins’ stats may have been modest, but his overall impact was something else. He was active and effective in every phase of the game. He was part of some masterful defenses down the stretch and had perhaps the biggest shot of the game.

It certainly doesn’t seem like he was out for two months, does it?

Grade: A

Stephen Curry

42 minutes, 31 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, 12-for-25, 2-10 threes, 5-6 free throws, 56.1% TS, +4

It was a pretty ineffective game by Curry’s ridiculous standards, but it was also one where he felt completely in control. And as Curry continued to play massive minutes, the two-time MVP seemed to gain nothing but energy and, not surprisingly, get pumped.

The Kings mostly erased a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, yet every time the game hung in the balance, Curry grabbed the ball and you immediately felt at ease. He made the biggest shots when it mattered most.

What a star.

Grade: A-

Postgame bonus: Led the team in points and assists.

Clay Thompson

32 minutes, 25 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls, 10-19 shooting, 5-11 threes, 65.8% TS, +14

If you were watching this game without following the stats, you might be surprised to learn that Clay only had 25 points. He just seemed to score a lot more. And that’s because every one of his buckets was decisive.

He scored 11 points in the second quarter as the Warriors began to lose sight of Sacramento. He had big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter every time the Kings started to close the gap.

10 times he made a shot and 10 times you could take a huge breath and believe in the team again.

And now he has to go home and be Clay in Game 6 with a chance to end the streak in front of the home crowd.

Grade: A

Postgame bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.

Jordan Poole

23 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 foul, 4-for-12, 1-for-6 threes, 1-for-3 free throws, 37.5% TS, +2

Poole had a very tough run from a goal-scoring point of view, but he did so much to help the Warriors win. His playmaking was outstanding, and it was just the fifth time all season that he went an entire game without a turnover. He had a decent defense and despite the ineffective scoring he did a great job of not forcing the issue.

Grade: B-

Draymond Green

32 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 3 steals, 4 fouls, 8-for-10 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 4-for-8 free throws, 77.7% TS , +13

There have always been two sides to Draymond, and this year is no exception. His side punched a teammate in practice and was sent off in Game 2, which warrants a suspension in Game 3. These are actions that seem selfish and clearly hurt the team.

Then there’s the side of him who, when he returned from suspension, suggested to Steve Kerr that the Warriors continue to start Poole – a young player who hasn’t had a particularly good season – and come off the bench. It spent all of Wednesday building up its teammates and playing all-world defense.

Green’s decision to come off the bench may help save the season. Not because the Warriors couldn’t win with him starting, but because it sends a message. Self-denial. Trusting each other. To believe in something. Realizing that every victory looks different.

Of course, having the most points he’d scored in three and a half years and playing some of the best defense you’ll ever see helped.

Grade: A+

Gary Payton II

16 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 foul, 4-for-5, 0-1 threes, 80.0% TS, 0 plus/minus

There was a stretch in the second half where Payton appeared to have two rebounds per possession for four minutes.

Right now, he’s mostly effective in certain matchups and short bursts, but when he’s effective… my goodness, he’s effective. Can you think of a better cutter, a better rebounder, or a more terrifying perimeter defender?

Grade: A-

Donte DiVincenzo

17 minutes, 2 points, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 fouls, 1-for-5 shooting, 0-3 threes, 20.0% TS, -11

The good news is that after spending all year talking about how DiVincenzo was too much of a contract for Golden State, he spent the playoffs bouncing back to pick up next year’s contract.

I’m kidding, of course, but you get the point: It hasn’t been the best streak for DDV, though his numbers look a lot worse than he’s played. He certainly wasn’t an impressive player in that game, though if your worst rotation player is DiVincenzo, you’re probably in good shape.

And the Dubs are in good shape.

Grade: C-

Moses Moody

4 minutes, 2 points, 1 assist, 1 block, 2-2 free throws, 113.6% TS, -5

Moody ran early and that was it. I thought he looked really good and he made a highlight reel block.

Grade: B+

Wednesday’s DNP: Patrick Baldwin Jr., JaMichael Green, Jonathan Cumminga, Anthony Lamb

Wednesday Inactive: Andre Iguodala, Ryan Rollins

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