The Golden State Warriors weren’t going to let go of the throttle this time around — and more so, they made sure their third quarter was terminal for the Boston Celtics.
In Game 1, they led by a dozen heading into fourth before ending the game losing by a dozen. In Game 2 on Sunday night, Stephen Curry put on another inspired performance – this time aided by his teammates to a much greater extent – and they pulled off a resounding 107-88 victory to tie the series.
Curry finished with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for plus-24 in a game that saw him and the stars sit out most of a fourth quarter that ended in terrible weather.
Although Boston shot more than 50% from beyond the arc in the first half, the hosts took a two-point lead into the break, thanks to Curry beating the buzzer in style just before halftime. . By the end of the game, that percentage was down to just over 40.
The Celtics were powered by a big early score from the Jays, Jayson Tatum scored 13 points in the first – more than he managed in all of Game 1 – and Jaylen Brown also started with a first quarter by 13 points but quickly slowed down. thereafter and finished with just 17 points. Tatum went 6 of 9 from 3-point field and totaled 28 on a best-scoring night for the All-NBA First-Team player.
Tatum also claimed the distinction of becoming the youngest Celtics player to record 500 or more points in a single postseason, previously held by Larry Bird in 1984 (when he was 27, Tatum had 24). It won’t matter to him for now though.
Offensively and defensively, the Celtics crumbled in the second half and they were subject to turnover throughout the game. The 33 points scored by the Warriors, compared to just 15 for Boston, was probably one of the key stats of the game.
More than that, the Warriors just had the answers on both sides of the ball in Game 2 in San Francisco.
Part of that was due to adjustments made by the Warriors. Golden State started the second quarter with an all-offensive lineup on the court, including Nemanja Bjelica at center, to try and get Jordan Poole started in the non-Steph Curry minutes. It certainly worked as Poole hit some huge buckets on his way to 17 points overall.
The Warriors were also playing more pick-and-rolls and isolations offensively, as opposed to their usual movement-based offense. Curry managing to impose his rhythm also had a destabilizing effect for Boston.
Defensively, the Warriors set the tone early and stayed locked in throughout, showing consistent cohesion and focus as a unit that was lacking in Game 1. There was also a standing ovation for Gary Payton II from the Chase Center crowd as he made his NBA Finals. his debut, after not playing in the first game of the series after returning from injury.
This time, in the third quarter, they buried the Celtics to the extent that it was unrecoverable. Curry hit some nice threes and Poole hit two late, including a huge half-court ringer beater that left the lead at 23 before the fourth.
It didn’t take long for Udoka to clear the bench in the fourth, but the fact that Steve Kerr kept Klay Thompson there says a lot. He finished the game shooting 4 of 19 from the field and just 1 of 8 from beyond the arc. His struggles are something that will need to be watched.
The Warriors, however, reacted as the champions do after the setback of the Game 1 loss. Now the series moves to Boston where they will look to regain the home advantage by taking a game at TD Garden, starting live the sky sports late Wednesday evening.
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