The Boston Celtics have taken a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals after a convincing win at home against the Golden State Warriors. The Eastern Conference champions won this game on the defensive end yet were propelled by a historic offensive accomplishment from their three leaders.
Boston Claims Game 3 of NBA Finals
The Celtics had a nearly perfect start in the first quarter. They quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead with a barrage of three-pointers and quick buckets off of turnovers. Boston shot 4-10 from three for the quarter after missing a fee late. They dominated the glass, doubling Golden State in that area. Jaylen Brown was magnificent in the first, stampeding through the Warriors’ defense with 17 points and three assists.
Golden State struggled offensively out of the gate. Stephen Curry led the way with seven points but was forced to sit with two early fouls. The Warriors were demolished in the paint, giving up 14 points near the rim while struggling to get past Robert Williams on their end.
It was more of the same early in the second quarter as the Celtics extended their lead to 18 with six minutes remaining in the half. Boston cooled off but made up for it with their second chance buckets and held Golden State without a rebound for most of the period.
The Warriors made a run at the end of the half. An 8-0 run in 37 seconds, to be exact. A transition dunk from Andrew Wiggins was followed by a quick Curry three to cap the flurry.
Boston counterpunched with a run of their own to take a 68-56 lead into the locker room.
The ‘Third Quarter Warriors’ has become a trend for a reason. Golden State has put teams away with exhausting offensive outbursts early in the second half throughout these playoffs. Things went back and forth throughout the first half of the period, but a 12-0 Warriors run gave Golden State a short-lived lead.
A rare seven-point possession propelled the Dubs, caused by an Al Horford flagrant on a made Curry three. Speaking of Horford and Curry, the most significant factor in the Warriors’ comeback was their inability to defend the high pick and roll. Horford continuously chose to drop into coverage, allowing easy pull-up threes for the best shooter in league history. Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson combined for 25 points in the quarter.
Boston pulled away in the fourth on the strength of their defense. They held Golden State to only 11 points in the period before both teams pulled their starters.
As usual, Boston was led in scoring by Brown and Jayson Tatum. Marcus Smart had a big night as well with 24 points. The trio becomes the first to put up a 20-5-5 stat line in the Finals in decades. Horford and Grant Williams also scored in double digits. Curry and Thompson paced the Warriors with 31 and 25 points, respectively. Wiggins scored 18, and Jordan Poole dropped in 10.
NBA Finals: What’s Next?
For Golden State, they will have to find an answer to the Celtics’ dominance in the paint. For Boston, coach Ime Udoka and his staff will need to work with Horford and Williams on their help defense, especially in the pick and roll.
Game four takes place on Friday, June 10th at 9 pm EST. The Celtics will look to extend their series lead while the Warriors will hope to make things level before heading back home for game five. The early odds have Boston as 3.5-point favorites, but anyone that doubts the Warriors’ ability to steal one on the road may be disappointed.