Warriors vs. Celtics: How Andrew Wiggins’ drama showed why Stephen Curry is a clear NBA Finals MVP.

With two minutes and 11 seconds left in Golden State’s 104-94 game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics, Andrew Wiggins threw the biggest sting of his career. It was the perfect ending to one of the best nights of his basketball career: 26 points, 13 points, suffocating defense, everything the Warriors could ask for from their great recovery plan. With the roaring crowd behind him, Wiggins drove Derek White through an empty alley into an unsafe basket for the keeper until the night of his career.

Wait a second; Derek White? An empty alley? An insecure basket? Certainly not through design, right? Well, it wasn’t. Let’s take a closer look at the drama.

When Wiggins takes the ball to court, it’s not the thin white that protects it. No, he faces Marcus Smart, the best defender of the year, whose greatest gift is his ability to defend big players. White begins to take over Stephen Curry, but when Curry enters the corner, the Celtics don’t even wait for Kevin Looney’s screen to change. As Dreammond Green is out, Boston is playing small with Grant Williams here as their lone big man. Even so, Boston is terrified that if they don’t change Curry before the screen arrives, where they can bolt, they sacrifice their only big man on Steve’s altar.

Williams is now effectively out of the play, transforming into a simple Wiggins-Looney pick and roll. White, 6-4 and thin, was at the other end of Boston’s already running switch, and he pushed Loni back to the floor. Of course, Loney is big enough to initially angle the screen directly behind the Smart, but at the last second he takes a step upwards to throw White, who knows that after the inevitable switch, Wiggins Will meet This confusion has bought Wiggins enough runway to turn the steam head before White can do anything to stop it. Jason Tatum should have been the lesser man here, who should have slipped in and out of Gary Patton II’s lane to compete with Wiggins in the basket, but he is a wing accustomed to playing in a very large lineup. Naturally, he expects his big man to be on the edge. Well, Williams can’t go to the rum. Look into his eyes. He is so caught up in the curry that it is almost evening Watch Back to the basket, Wiggins is already in the air.

Some version of this dilemma runs on almost every Golden State basketball that Curry has not scored. If you want to understand where the vast majority of Warriors points come from, you just need to look at one capture and ask yourself “Where is Steve?” This will usually take you in the right direction. It takes nothing away from Wiggins. If it had been easier to score 26 points with the help of Curry’s gravity, more of his teammates would have been doing it. When a team decides to acquire a player, especially an expensive one like Wiggins, they do so with the belief that the player in question is fit to play with their star or stars. Wiggins certainly is. But in this scenario, Curry is still the star that Wiggins is orbiting. It’s clear when you see where Curry’s points are coming from.

During the regular season, Curry assisted on about 50% of field goals. This is how the crime of Golden State is designed. Curry’s goal is to walk around the floor and draw the attention of every defender he encounters, creating opportunities for others and for himself. Boston has snatched away the greatness of this off-ball, leaving Curry to play a much more traditional style of offense. There is no fighter who can do what he does for them, so he has been forced to make the most of his shots through pick and roll. Through five games, only 33.3% of his field goals have been helped.

Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. Through four games, he doubled Wiggins’ points total (137 to 66). By the end of the fourth game, Curry was playing so well that many were wondering if he could win the MVP finals even if he lost the Golden State final. He’s still the favorite, but after losing all his nine-point effort in Game 5, there’s a familiar story going on around him.

The Warriors beat the Celtics 2-1 after three games. They also beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 2-1 in 2015 after three games. That 2015 Finals series changed when Steve Kerr added Andre Agodala to the starting lineup. The Warriors won three in a row and won the title. Wiggins was already a starter, but his rise to prominence in the last two games has been the biggest factor in his successive victories. Iguodala won the MVP finals for his part in the 2015 Championship. On paper, Wiggins is presented with a very similar case for himself. Agodala defended LeBron James in 2015 and at least forced him to score ineffectively. The Wiggins are beautifully defending Jayson Tatum through five games. Even their scoring scores are almost identical, with Wiggins (16.8 points per game) slightly ahead of Iguodala (16.3). I The darkest corner As for basketball discourse, the question is already being asked: if the Warriors finished it and won their fourth championship in eight years, would Wiggins have a chance to make it to the finals MVP Is?

If any part of you leans towards “yes” then just go back to this Wiggins Salem. Wiggins refused to take his eyes off Curry because the idea of ​​doing so for a moment was more of a threat to him than a wide open sting. Forget about (very impressive) statistics. Forget Curry’s unfortunate history with this award. Just take the moment that repeats itself dozens of times in each Warriors game, the one where the opposing defender is so frightened by the thought of taking a shot that he is willing to make an open sacrifice. If Curry’s value doesn’t match that of everyone else on his team, nothing will happen.