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Wiggins guides Warriors past Celtics for 3-2 NBA Finals lead

Wiggins guides Warriors past Celtics for 3-2 NBA Finals lead
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (R) scored 10 of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter of an NBA Finals win over the Boston Celtics on Monday in San Francisco. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

June 14 (UPI) -- Andrew Wiggins totaled 26 points and 13 rebounds on Monday night and the Golden State Warriors overcame a rare poor shooting night from 3-point range to beat the Boston Celtics in Game 5 and move within one game of its seventh NBA championship.

"It's something I dreamt about for sure, being in the league, and this is the ultimate stage," Wiggins told reporters after the 104-94 win Monday at Chase Center in San Francisco. "It doesn't get bigger than this.

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"I was out there being aggressive. It was a good game."

The Warriors made just 9 of 40 3-point attempts. Star guard Stephen Curry was 0 for 9 from downtown and scored 16 points, but the Warriors still managed to move just one win away from securing a title in the best-of-seven game series.

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"Obviously, my track record says I shoot the ball better the next game," Curry said. "Looking forward to that bounce-back."

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum logged a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. The game featured four lead changes and was tied twice. The Warriors outscored the Celtics 50-36 in the paint, 12-8 off fast breaks, 31-10 off the bench, 22-9 off turnovers and led by as many as a dozen points.

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The Warriors stacked 6-2 and 8-0 runs to start the game and carried a 27-16 lead into the second quarter. They outscored the Celtics 24-23 over the next 12 minutes for a 51-39 lead at the break.

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Tatum and guards Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart scored nine points apiece for the Celtics in the third. The Celtics started the quarter on a 10-0 run and outscored the Warriors 35-24, but still trailed 75-74 to start the fourth.

The Warriors scored 10 unanswered to start the final quarter and never trailed again. Wiggins scored 10 points over the final 12 minutes.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson scored 21 points in the win. Gary Payton II and Jordan Poole chipped in 15 and 14 points, respectively, off the Warriors bench.

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Smart totaled 20 points for the Celtics. Brown scored 18 points with nine rebounds.

"Over the course of the game, we made some good plays. We were in it," Brown said. "I felt like we just couldn't get over the hump.

"Tough loss, but got the opportunity to even it back up on our home floor, push a Game 7. I'm looking forward to that challenge."

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Game 6 will tip off at 9 p.m. EDT Thursday at TD Garden in Boston. Game 7, if necessary, will be at 8 p.m. Sunday at Chase Center.

"Here we are, we have a chance," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We have two cracks at getting one win, but we also know how difficult it's going to be.

"Nobody's celebrating, but we are excited to be in this spot, and we want to take advantage of it."

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