Pointed after the last quarter of Game 1, the Golden State defense dominated this Game 2. The Warriors again made the hole in the third quarter, winning 35-14, and this time they managed to keep their lead .
The Celtics thus scored only 11 of their 41 attempts in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, while losing 9 balls. They lost 19 balls in total which gave their opponent 33 points. The Warriors, who had to do without Andre Iguodala, forfeited before the meeting, were able to count on 25 quality minutes from Gary Payton II.
From the start of the match, the Celtics throw a chill in a boiling Chase Center. Behind 9 points from Jaylen Brown, a 5/5 on shots, including 2/2 from 3-pointers, and a defense that causes two loose balls, they take an eight-point lead (13-5). Draymond Green then revives his partners by increasing his intensity and looking for trouble with the Celtics.
The Warriors then remain in ambush but Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Andrew Wiggins miss several lay-ups which allows Jayson Tatum to keep the Celtics in front. Only problem for Boston: they lose seven balls, and the Warriors punish them each time, scoring 13 points which allow Curry to give his team a point lead (31-30).
Another fiery 3rd quarter
Steve Kerr inserts Nemanja Bjelica into his second five to provide more space for Jordan Poole. If the Serb makes a great passage, Poole continues to be on the street. He forces and is countered twice. Klay Thompson imitates him as five points from a fair-playing Derrick White gives the Celtics a five-point lead (40-35). Steve Kerr does not procrastinate. He takes out Poole and Thompson to revive Curry and Payton II. The Warriors’ defense then goes up a notch, and Stephen Curry can run to launch a 10-0 that reverses the trend (45-40).
Two new award-winning shots revive Boston. The Celtics, who lost 11 balls in this first half and are only 7 out of 25 at 2-points, however, cling on thanks to an address from afar still as insolent (10/19). It’s the opposite for the Warriors. Their domination in the racket is confirmed with an offensive rebound from Andrew Wiggins which puts Golden State in front at the break (52-50).
Like a trap from Draymond Green and Kevon Looney on Jaylen Brown, Golden State’s defense raises its tone again and this allows it to pass a 16-4 to its opponents thanks in particular to the awakening of Klay Thompson and to a still precious Stephen Curry (68-56)! The Dubs have several opportunities to confirm this highlight but an interception by Marcus Smart followed by two award-winning shots from Grant Williams in the corner and Jayson Tatum at the head of the racket keep Boston in ambush (68-62).
Stephen Curry, however, does not want to make the same mistake as in Game 1. He takes responsibility and ends an 11-0 with two 3-pointers that blow up Chase Center. Jordan Poole then finally enters his final, and plants a shot from ten meters followed by a shot from midfield at the buzzer to put Golden State at +23 (87-64)!
A new award-winning shot from Jordan Poole increases the gap to +29 and Ime Udoka empties his bench. The Warriors fulfill their mission by equalizing, with style, and they will however have to win in Boston during Games 3 and / or 4 to recover the advantage of the field.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The defense of Golden State shows another face. Despite the Celtics’ diabolical skill from afar, the Warriors were much more active and aggressive on defense. Their adjustments start with Draymond Green, shifted over Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum to allow him to be in the action. The return of Gary Payton II also gives Steve Kerr another tough-on-man defender. The Warriors provoked 11 stray balls from their opponent in the first half and locked access to the circle as well as the Horford/Williams pair. Only the long distance address of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White (10/17) allowed the Celtics to be in the game, but the latter faltered after the break.
– Stephen Curry and Draymond Green knock out Boston in the third quarter. As in Game 1, Golden State returned to the field with a knife between their teeth. It all started with the tenfold intensity of Draymond Green in defense. After holding Boston to 7/24 on shots in the second quarter, the Warriors did even better in the third quarter, limiting them to 4/17! On the other side of the field, it was Stephen Curry who took matters into his own hands. As often in his career, the double MVP went into nuclear mode during this period. He scored 14 3/6 3-pointers and never stopped attacking a Boston defense that cracked under that constant pressure. If Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole have each finally brought their piece to the building, it is Curry who made the difference to allow his team to win the quarter 35-14.
– The Celtics are scuttling each other. Boston’s long-distance address in the first half and Jayson Tatum’s jump after his first missed game were the only two trees that hid a very poor forest for a long time. Uncomfortable with Golden State’s aggressive, rough and borderline defense, the Celtics wasted possession early in the game. They lost 7 balls in the first quarter which resulted in 13 points which kept the Warriors in the game. They followed up with 4 loss of balls in the second quarter, and 5 in the third quarter which gave 11 points to their opponent. They finished the game with 19 loose balls, which gave the Warriors 33 points. With the exception of Tatum, Ime Udoka’s men were 13 out of 43 on shots, or 30% success before Ime Udoka emptied his bench.
✅Stephen Curry. The double MVP was exceptional narrowly tonight. Faced with a defense constantly focused on him, he was able to read Boston’s helpers to often make the right decision. He will finish the game with 29 points, 9/21 on shots, including 5 award-winning shots, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, without playing the last quarter.
✅ Draymond Green. The Warriors handyman announced he would play better and he did not disappoint. On the verge of a second technical foul several times, he played the tightrope walker to bring an intensity of madness without it harming his team. His stats (9 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) do not reflect the full impact he had on this game, especially in defense where he was omnipresent.
✅ Kevon Looney – Andrew Wiggins. The two holders did not make waves but they were extremely solid in defense to allow Golden State to put the Celtics are the extinguisher.
✅ Jayson Tatum. The Eastern Conference Finals MVP again started softly (2/7 on shots) before catching fire. He finished with 28 points at 6/9 from 3-point range despite strong defense from Andrew Wiggins. He was, however, far too lonely.
⛔ Jordan Poole-Klay Thompson. Both backs were at 2/13 at half-time, taking more forced shots than each other. If they both raised their heads after the break, the blows of brilliance from Jordan Poole, in particular, are too rare. The sixth man has a lot of trash and will have to play simpler in Boston. He finished with 17 points at 6/14 on shots thanks to a better second half while Klay Thompson, who shot a lot to try to regain his confidence, scored 11 points at 4/19 on shots .
⛔ The other Celtics. Jayson Tatum was alone against all that night. His teammates finished the game at 22/61 on shots. Jaylen Brown had started well (4/6) but was clumsy afterwards (1/11). Al Horford and Marcus Smart, decisive in Game 1, were limited to two points each and 2/10 on shots.
Game 3: overnight Wednesday through Thursday in Boston.