While Golden State had the game in hand, Jaylen Brown reversed the trend at the start of the last quarter to lead an incredible fireworks display from the Celtics! 9/12 from 3-pointers and a period won 40-16 to inflict the Warriors their first loss at home in these playoffs. The Al Horford – Derrick White – Payton Pritchard trio scored 55 points at 13 of 19 from afar! Boston finished the game with 51% success from afar to erase the clumsiness of Jayson Tatum (3/17).
In a Chase Center that we had never seen so boiling, the match starts at the quarter turn. The Celtics defense made four small mistakes that turned into five award-winning Splash Brothers shots, including four for an ultra-determined Stephen Curry. Boston, however, remains in contact thanks to the address of Marcus Smart and Al Horford (25-22). The Curry madness continues, the point guard making every mistake by the opposing defense pay and finishing the first quarter with 21 points at 6 of 8 from a distance! The Celtics still continue to stay in touch with a well-distributed mark (32-28).
Daniel Theis, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard confirm by each hitting the mark from a distance but Otto Porter Jr, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson imitate them to keep the Warriors in control (47-41). In the wake of a Marcus Smart stifling Jordan Poole, Boston’s defense is stabilizing. With Williams on the bench and Horford in position 5, they limit their opponent to 7 points in the last seven minutes of the first half to take the lead at the break (56-54).
The Warriors return to the field with much more intensity and movement. Seven points from Stephen Curry and ten from Andrew Wiggins then launched a 21-8 which gave them back control of the match (75-64). Boston tries to respond but Wiggins and Curry press on as the Warriors defense drives the point home. The gap reached 15 units and it took Robert Williams to wake up in the circle and two shots from Derrick White to stop the bleeding (92-80).
With Curry and Wiggins blowing and Brown and Tatum back on the field, the Celtics are seizing their opportunity. While Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson force, Jaylen Brown scores five points in a row and sends Robert Williams to the alley-oop to lead his team 9-0 in three minutes (92-89). Steve Kerr does not procrastinate and immediately takes out Poole to revive Stephen Curry. The Warriors find their attack but Brown, on a cloud and already author of ten points in the period, then five winning shots from White, Pritchard and Horford put the Celtics in front (109-103)!
However, with four minutes played, the match seems folded. KO, the Warriors stammer their basketball while Al Horford and Marcus Smart chain winning shot after winning shot to end the meeting on a 20-5 which leaves the Chase Center in shock. Like against Milwaukee and Miami, the Celtics showed they were fearless on the outside. They will play Sunday in Game 2 without any pressure. Attention danger for the Warriors!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Stephen Curry’s historic first quarter. The Warriors star started these Finals by being aggressive and looking for his shot. He was well helped by multiple errors from the Celtics which left him alone on several occasions. It didn’t take that much to catch fire. Stephen Curry set the Finals record for 3-pointers in a quarter with six out of eight attempts, shattering the previous record (5) he shared with Ray Allen and Kenny Smith.
– The Boston defense regains bite with its “small ball”. After conceding 47 points in 17 minutes, Ime Udoka then decided to opt for Al Horford as a pivot and play “small”. This tactical choice then allows Boston to “switch” on all screens and limit the shifts created by Golden State. With the wind in their sails, the Celtics increase their aggressiveness and like Marcus Smart, they steal the ball from the hands of Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney. It’s their one-on-one defense and unbeaten ability that allows them to stop Warriors losing their temper. They lose 7 balls in the quarter and see Boston limit them to 7 points in the last seven minutes of the half.
– Offensive rebounds revive Golden State. The Warriors managed to reverse the trend in the third quarter thanks to the awakening of Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins and the return of one of their weapons of choice: the offensive rebound. They take 5 offensive rebounds which will lead to 11 points. Andrew Wiggins in particular, author of 12 points in the period, scored two award-winning shots on his offensive rebounds which allowed the Warriors to take a 15-point lead.
– The three minutes that tipped the game in favor of the Celtics. At +12 at the start of the last quarter, Steve Kerr decided to keep his classic rotation with Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson alongside two non-shooters, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, and Otto Porter Jr. Opposite, Ime Udoka raises Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Poole and Thompson struggled all game, then forced four possessions in a row as Jaylen Brown took matters into their own hands by scoring 10 points, while putting his shooters in rhythm. The Warriors, however, keep the advantage (103-100) but the momentum drastically changes camp. Full of confidence, Boston passes a 17-0 to their opponent in five minutes including five award-winning shots! Boston ends the last quarter in fireworks with a 9/12 from 3-pointers, allowing them to win the period 40 to 16!
✅ Jaylen Brown. The most effective scorer in the playoffs in the last quarter, he was no exception to his rule. He scored 10 of his 24 points in the first four minutes of the final quarter to put his team into orbit. He also took 7 rebounds and delivered 5 assists.
✅ Al Horford. The Celtics pivot had waited 141 games to reach the Finals and he did not miss his debut on the biggest NBA stage! He scored 11 of his 26 points in the final quarter, 100% success, and finished the game 6/8 from 3-pointers, punishing the Warriors from corners and headers.
✅Derrick White. Like Milwaukee, and like the Heat, the Warriors left Derrick White open and the former Spur continued the momentum from his late streak against Miami. He scored 21 points at 5/8 from 3-point range, demoralizing Golden State in the final quarter.
✅Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP scored 21 of his 34 points in the first quarter and finished the game 7/14 from 3-point range. He could not stop the green surge in the last quarter.
✅ ⛔ Jayson Tatum. Without rhythm from the start of the game, the Celtics star was limited to 12 points at 3/17 on shots by Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors defense. He still distributed 13 assists, creating shifts to take advantage of the incredible address of his teammates behind the 7m25.
⛔ Jordan Poole-Klay Thompson. The two backs finished at 2/7 and 6/14 on shots but it was above all their decision-making that left something to be desired, especially at the start of the fourth quarter. It was their forced shots and stray bullets that revived Boston.
⛔ Draymond Green. The Celtics forced Draymond Green to shoot and the latter went through, finishing 2/12 on shots, hampered by the Celtics’ long stretches and aggression.
Game 2: in the night from Sunday to Monday in San Francisco.