For 42 minutes of Game 1, the Warriors and Celtics competed in a canonical basketball game. It had an impressive display of ebb, flow, coordination, counter-adjustment and individual and collective skills. The animated dynamics of the game were as clear as expected: the offense of the Warriors movement made a lot of good shots, and the offense of the Celtics did not acquit itself so well in the way of feeling the loss of Game 1. It has made a certain amount of money. And then, with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, something happened and the Boston Celtics tore the Warriors into a violent attack that stunned everyone in the building and secured a 1-0 series lead on their road. The most heinous way possible.
We should, at times, dig into the tactical and tactical decisions that define Game 1, although really, the key is to decide that the game has nothing to do with the scheme, just an unholy display of shotmaking. The Warriors maintained a four-point lead at 6:22 left, while Derrick White hit a competitive three at the end of the shot hour. White, whose inability to make or take three-pointers has been a problem for the Celtics throughout most of the post-season, certainly hits three more immediately in the next play. At this point, Al Harford took charge, hitting three nails with Clay Thompson on the right side of the grill that started with a single 8-0, and the shot ended with a foot on the baseline jumper leaving plenty of time on the clock. He was Kevin Durant or some shit. Marcus Smart then hit two hard-hitting three-in-a-row, and since all of this happened when the Warriors’ offense stopped, the Celtics reversed a 14-point third-quarter deficit in a blowout win. The loss was 17-0, driven by three of Boston’s less talented active attacking players. Stiff Curry had to go to the bench to make way for the Garbage-Time lineup with one minute left, I was shocked to see him.
Here are some statistics to show how bad this fourth quarter was: The Celtics won the competitive quarter of the fourth quarter 40-13, even a Garbage-Time Nemanja could not save the Bezelica Three Warriors from winning by a huge margin in any quarter. In the history of the NBA Finals; After trailing by two points in the fourth quarter, Celtics became the first team to win the final by two points; Al Harford’s six sixes are the most (impressive!) Of any game in any game and the most (of course!) For any player making his debut in the final; The Celtics did it all, despite a 17-for-3 shoot-out night from Jason Tatum. None of this makes sense, and as much as process-driven basketball thinkers would point to all the interlocking fringe results that had to be lined up for this kind of return, the beauty of the seven-game final is that a single bizarre result can swing the title.
Before they exploded, Boston fell back into an overtax in an attempt to deal with Steve Curry’s movement and control through the sheer force of physical strength. The Golden State game started the way Boston finished it, only it was somewhat expected, as Curry scored 21 runs in six overs. Curry’s numbers on the way to the final were great, although there were some weird ticks in his game. He missed many free throws, his shooting touch in the Memphis series abandoned him, and with the exception of a banger off the bench against Denver, he wasn’t one of those really irritating Steff Curry games where his shot hoop seemed to be drawn towards a black hole. . He reached that level in the first quarter against Boston, briefly justifying the line of thought that Boston’s switch-heavy defense and cadre of long defenders meant little against a man who could pull it in just an inch of space.
Boston shifted their focus in the second quarter and outscored Curry with a narrow lead at halftime. Their bodies were seen wearing the Warriors, when Drymond Green suddenly got stuck while driving and passing lanes for the 14 West Conference Games. The Warriors held their edge over the offensive glass, grabbing their own 12 misses, although Robert Williams’ shot-blocking ability thwarted many of the easy buckets they had hoped to get when they were able to reach the rim. The Warriors made a clear effort to jump into transition and, after finding plenty of joy and openness in the first three quarters, abandoned their own backboards to keep Boston Golden State afloat. Williams’ amazing mobility, combined with his concerted effort to close the driving lanes, meant the Warriors were kept out of the Cup for most of the fourth quarter. No matter; All they had to do was shoot. They fail to do so, White dries up completely from the moment of his first three hits until Thompson finally gets a meaningless layup in the last minute of the game. Some of these shotmaking variations, although Steve Kerr’s team didn’t just lose to Ime Udoka because of the difference in fortunes, they slowly slipped into a stiff and stiff box until there was no room for anything but shaking.
The Celtics will probably not go 17-0 again in any quarter of this series, although they may not be needed. They felt the push and intimidation of full-strength Warriors for the first time this season, with Curry’s pressure pushing a bit in the first and third quarters, then forcing their will into the game. Surely Tatum won’t miss 14 of the 17 shots again, and of course the Warriors will find a good place to stop Jordan Poole (ideally next to Juan Toscano-Anderson on the bench). Perhaps Dreammond Green Al Curse by Harford won’t get this bad dog. But sometimes it only takes a logic-offensive game to secure a championship and the Celtics have punched in the face of math.