Throughout the season, the Boston Celtics have played their best basketball outdoors.
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points, Jayson Tatum added 26 and the Boston Celtics defeated the Golden State Warriors’ third-quarter attack with a 116-100 win that gave them a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
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Marcus Smart added 24 points and helped lead a defensive effort that kept the Warriors at 11 points in the fourth quarter – the third-lowest in the final game in the shot clock era.
“Game 2, they brought us heat,” says Smart. “For us, it put a bad taste in our mouths because what we hang our hats on is the effort on the defensive end and being a physical team. It definitely woke us up a bit.”
This post season has improved Boston Home to 6-4 compared to 8-3 on the road. The Celtics have not lost two games in a row since the end of March.
Stephen Curry led the Golden State with 31 points and six 3-pointers. The Warriors had 15 points in the 33-25 third quarter but Al Harford Al Harford got injured late in the fourth after a loose ball rolled over his leg. It was like a game in the regular season where a smart dove gets into Curry’s legs while chasing a loose ball.
Clay Thompson came out of a recession in the final with 25 points and five 3 seconds. But the Warriors ’shooting didn’t save them that night as more Athletic Celtics beat them for a 47-31 rebounding advantage.
“When you let a team be comfortable, especially in their home – in front of the home crowd, it’s tough,” said Warriors forward Dreammond Green.
Robert Williams III, who is working his way back from knee surgery, finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“We’ve talked a lot about it, our team is resilient and able to fight through a lot of things, and sometimes it’s able to lockdown in defense when it’s most needed,” said Celtics coach Ime Vodoka. “We did it in the fourth quarter.”
Game 4 is Friday in Boston.
Despite Curry’s notable Lankan after playing with Harford, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said it was not why he pulled him out of the game at the last minute.
“The injury didn’t knock him out of the game, but I knocked him out for 14 with two minutes left because we weren’t going to catch him,” Kerr said. “We’ll know more tomorrow.”
Teams from the previous 39 times have divided the first two games of the final, winning the series 82 percent of the time in the winning game of Game 3.
In the first NBA Finals game in Boston since 2010 to feed the Greens the power of a Garden crowd throughout the night with their misery, the Celtics started quickly and took the lead with 18 points in the first half.
After a Game 2 loss where Boston rotated the ball 19 times, Celtic’s ball movement was much more crisper on half the court, resulting in perimeter shots open, optimal 1-on-1 matchup and driving lanes.
This gave the Warriors an occasional jolt, which contributed to three foul calls to Curry in the first 24 minutes.
But in addition to the Boston game, the Warriors’ seven-point possession in the third quarter erased its early lead, which included a four-point game when Curry made a great 1 foul over Harford and an Auto Porter Jr. 3-pointer. To put Golden State ahead of 83-82.
Boston recovered and climbed to fourth with a 93-89 edge, then beat Golden State 23-11 in the quarterfinals.
The Celtics led 56-39 before the Warriors took an 8-0 lead in just 37 seconds, and Curry’s lay-up led 56-49 with 3:32 half left. Boston bounced back towards the end of the half to take a 68-56 lead at halftime.
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