Morning Sports Update

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explained why he thinks Game 5 was a ‘checkbook win’ for the Warriors

"Andrew Wiggins is not an underdog."

Warriors payroll
Andrew Wiggins, left, celebrates with forward Draymond Green during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA Finals. AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

The Celtics lost Game 5 of the NBA Finals to the Warriors on Monday night, 104-94. Boston now trails 3-2 in the series and faces elimination in Thursday’s Game 6 at TD Garden (9 p.m.)

Tonight, the Red Sox face the Athletics at Fenway Park, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m.

And tomorrow, the Revolution host Orlando City at Gillette Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Brian Windhorst’s take on the Warriors: In the Warriors’ Game 5 win over the Celtics, Andrew Wiggins emerged as an unlikely hero for Golden State, dropping 26 points along with 13 rebounds.

But according to ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst, Wiggins’s star turn should be viewed in context.

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“Andrew Wiggins is not an underdog,” Windhorst told SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt following the game.

“He makes $32 million,” Windhorst explained. “While the Warriors were down these last couple of years, winning no games, they kept spending money because they’ve got it. They re-signed Draymond Green, they re-signed Steph Curry, they re-signed Kevon Looney.”

In Windhorst’s view, Wiggins is an embodiment of Golden State’s expansive payroll.

“They kept Andrew Wiggins and boy did he show up tonight. Andrew Wiggins with the supreme moment of his career. He was the throw-in in a trade,” said Windhorst. “Other teams would have totally gotten rid of him. They stuck with him. They have a $340 million payroll when you consider taxes. You don’t just have to beat the Warriors on the court, you’ve got to beat their checkbook. Taking nothing away from Andrew Wiggins but this was a checkbook win for the Warriors.”

The Warriors’ spending has been a figure of recent discussion. Fellow ESPN basketball reporter Zach Lowe also mentioned the team’s enormous outlay in a recent column.

“The Warriors are paying a league-record $346 million in salary and tax this season,” wrote Lowe, “and rivals are already grumbling about Golden State’s competitive spending advantage, sources say.”

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Still, Golden State has broken no rules in compiling and keeping a mostly homegrown array of players. Wiggins is obviously an exception, acquired in a 2020 trade with the Timberwolves. His presence has been seen as a “key” in the team’s current run.

Trivia: Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Who was the second overall pick that year?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: His most recent NBA appearance came with the Celtics.

More from Boston.com:

Jayson Tatum’s postgame press conference:

On this day: In 1952, Boston Braves pitcher Warren Spawn tied the then-National League record for strikeouts in a game with 18. He pitched 13 innings but lost in the end to the Cubs, 3-1.

Warren Spawn

Daily highlight: Having been subbed on specifically for penalty kicks, Australian goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne delivered in the biggest moment. His save clinched a berth in the World Cup over Peru in the playoff game on Monday.

Trivia answer: Jabari Parker

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