The Golden State Warriors closed the first half of Wednesday's Game 5 with vintage Splash Brothers to take an 11-point lead.
When they opened the second with a 9-2 run, they were in control. With their postseason at stake, the reigning NBA champions punched back from an excruciating Game 4 loss with a 121-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers to ensure that their season would not end on Wednesday.
Adding to the Lakers' woes, they lost Anthony Davis to a late-game head injury, leaving his Game 6 status in doubt.
Warriors hot from 3 early
Golden State opened Wednesday like it has so many of its wins during its run to four championships, connecting on four 3-pointers in the game's first 4:30 en route to a 17-5 lead. A Lakers team that's continued to strengthen since a midseason roster makeover responded and erased its early deficit with a 50-50 tie midway through the second quarter. It did so looking repeatedly to Davis, who thrived against an outmatched Kevon Looney in the post.
But the Warriors looked to the deep ball again on a 20-9 run to close the half fueled by four more 3-pointers. They finished with a 6-0 stretch in the final 30 seconds that included a 3 from Klay Thompson and another from Stephen Curry as the buzzer sounded.
The Warriors then opened up the second half by repeatedly attacking the basket and extended their 11-point halftime edge to 79-61 with a 9-2 run. The Lakers cut into the deficit with Curry on the bench to end the third, but Golden State carried an 11-point lead into the final quarter.
It was a familiar spot to Monday, when the Warriors led by 7 after three. But there was no late Lakers rally this time on Golden State's home floor. Los Angeles never again got closer than 9 points. When they lost Davis to injury in the fourth, the game was over.
Anthony Davis leaves late with head injury
Davis took an inadvertent elbow to the head from Looney midway through the fourth quarter and left for the sideline.
After sitting on the bench with his head in hands in apparent pain, he walked to the tunnel with assistance with the Warriors leading 102-90. He appeared woozy as he left the court.
— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) May 11, 2023
Davis was then reportedly escorted to the locker room in a wheelchair for further evaluation before the end of the game. He was ruled out shortly after. After the game, head coach Darvin Ham said Davis' condition had improved.
Ham on Davis: “just checked on him in the back, he seems to be doing really good already.”
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) May 11, 2023
The Lakers didn't offer an immediate diagnosis, and Davis' status for Game 6 wasn't clear postgame.
Curry leads, gets plenty of help
Curry once again led the way for Golden State with 27 points and 8 assists while shooting 12-of-24 from the floor. But unlike Monday's loss when none of his teammates scored more than 17 points, he had plenty of help.
Andrew Wiggins added 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists while shooting 10-of-18 from the floor. Draymond Green was unusually aggressive on offense while tallying 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He shot 7-of-11 from the field for his second 20-plus-point effort of the postseason. Gary Payton II added an efficient 13 points alongside 6 rebounds while shooting 4-of-5 from the field.
Shooting woes still plagued Thompson (10 points, 3-of-12 from the field) and Jordan Poole (11 points, 5-of-14 from the field). How they respond in Los Angeles for Game 6 will be critical to Golden State's chances of securing a Game 7 at home.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 25 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 9-of-17 from the field. Davis had slowed down from his 18-point first-half pace before his injury and finished the game with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. He did the bulk of his damage against Looney, who was moved to the bench since Game 1 as Green anchors the post in a small-ball Warriors starting lineup.
Game 6 is scheduled for Friday night in Los Angeles.