While Golden State had the game in hand, Jaylen Brown reversed the trend early in the final quarter to lead an incredible Celtics firework! 9/12 3-pointers and a 40-16 win over the Warriors in their first home loss in the playoffs. The Al Horford – Derrick White – Payton Pritchard trio scored 55 points to 13 of 19 by far! Boston finished the game with a 51% pass chance to clear Jayson Tatum’s awkwardness (3/17).
In a Chase Center that had never been seen before, the game started at 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. However, Boston remained in touch with Marcus Smart and Al Horford (25-22). Curry’s madness continues, with the leader paying for every mistake of the opposing defense and finishing the first quarter with 21 points at 6 out of 8 by far! The Celtics still remain in touch with a well-distributed mark (32-28).
Daniel Theis, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard all confirmed by flying away but Otto Porter Jr, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson imitated them to keep the Warriors in check (47-41). In the wake of a Marcus Smart suffocating Jordan Poole, Boston’s defense is stabilizing. With Williams on the bench and Horford in 5th place, they limited their opponent to 7 points in the final 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 that gave them back control of the game (75-64). Boston tries to respond but Wiggins and Curry continue to get better as the Warriors defense pushes the nail. The gap is 15 units and it takes the awakening of Robert Williams in the circle and two throws from Derrick White to stop the bleeding (92-80).
With Curry and Wiggins blowing and Brown and Tatum back on the field, the Celtics seize their opportunity. As Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson force, Jaylen Brown scored five straight points and sent Robert Williams to the alley-oop to lead his team to a 9-0 lead in three minutes (92-89). Steve Kerr doesn’t procrastinate and immediately pulls Poole out to relaunch Stephen Curry. The Warriors regained their attack but Brown, on a cloud and already a ten-point scorer in the period, then five award-winning shots from White, Pritchard and Horford put the Celtics ahead (109-103)!
With four minutes played, however, the game seems to be folded. KO, the Warriors kicked off their basketball as Al Horford and Marcus Smart went on to win after award-winning shooting to end the game at 20-5, leaving Chase Center in shock. As with Milwaukee and Miami, the Celtics have shown they are not afraid of anything on the outside. They will play on Sunday in Game 2 without any pressure. Beware of danger for the Warriors!
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– Stephen Curry’s first historic quarter. The Warriors star started these Finals by being aggressive and looking for her shot. He was well helped by multiple Celtic errors that left him alone on several occasions. It didn’t take long for him to catch fire. Stephen Curry set a 3-point record for a quarter-final in the Finals with six hits on eight attempts, erasing the previous record (5) he shared with Ray Allen and Kenny Smith.
– Boston’s defense finds a bite with his “small ball”. After collecting 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 at their stern, the Celtics increase their aggression and like Marcus Smart, they chip the ball into the hands of Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney. It is their one-on-one defense and their ability not to be beaten that allows them to stop Warriors who are losing their cool. They lose 7 balls in the quarter and see Boston limit them to 7 points in the final seven minutes of the half.
– Offensive rebounds revive Golden State. The Warriors managed to reverse the trend in the third quarter thanks to the revival of Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins and the return of one of their weapons of choice: the offensive rebound. They take 5 offensive rebounds that will lead to 11 points. Andrew Wiggins in particular, who scored 12 points in the period, scored two award-winning shots on his offensive rebounds that would have 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 final 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 revives Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Poole and Thompson struggled throughout the game, then forcing on four possessions in a row as Jaylen Brown took matters into his own hands by scoring 10 points, while putting his shooters in rhythm. The Warriors, however, retain the lead (103-100) but the momentum changes dramatically. In full confidence, Boston beat their opponent 17-0 in five minutes, including five winning shots! Boston finished the last quarter on fireworks with a 9/12 3-point lead, allowing them to win the 40-16 period!
TOPS / FLOPS
✅ Jaylen Brown. The most effective playoff scorer in the last quarter, he has not deviated from his rule. He scored 10 of his 24 points in the first four minutes of the final quarter to put his team in orbit. He also took 7 rebounds and delivered 5 assists.
✅ To Horford. The Celtics pivot had waited 141 games to reach the Finals and did not miss his debut on the biggest NBA stage! He scored 11 of his 26 points in the final quarter, with 100% success, and finished the game 6/8 on 3-points, punishing the Warriors in the corners and leading the racket.
✅ Derrick White. Like Milwaukee, and like the Heat, the Warriors left Derrick White open and the former Spur continued on the brink of his end-of-series against Miami. He scored 21 points on 5/8 on 3-points, demoralizing Golden State in the final quarter.
✅ Stephen Curry. The double MVP scored 21 of his 34 points in the first quarter and finished the game 7/14 at 3-point. He couldn’t stop the green light in the last quarter.
⛔ ⛔ Jayson Tatum. With no pace 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 gaps to take advantage of the incredible address of his teammates behind the 7m25.
⛔ Jordan Poole – Klay Thompson. The two backs finished in 2/7 and 6/14 on the shots but it was above all their decision-making that left much to be desired, especially at the beginning 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 at 2/12 on the shots, hampered by the long segments and the aggressiveness of the Celtics.
Game 2: in the night from Sunday to Monday in San Francisco.