SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Just like in Game 1, the Golden State Warriors took command with a big third quarter.
Unlike game 1, they finished the job.
The NBA Finals are now tied, after the Warriors turned a close game into a rout with a third-quarter masterpiece. Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Jordan Poole connected just inside midfield to cap the pivotal period, and the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 107-88 on Sunday night in Game 2.
“I thought everyone was more engaged,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after his team improved to 5-0 after a loss in that playoff. “It’s pretty obvious. Just our level of strength and physique was increased a bit, and it had to be.
Poole finished with 17 points for the Warriors, who beat Boston 35-14 in the third quarter to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 23-point lead. And when the Warriors then scored the first six points of the fourth, the Celtics waved the surrender flag and emptied their bench.
“We said we had to play with desperation,” Curry said. “That’s what we did.”
Golden State also got 12 from Kevon Looney on 6-for-6 shooting, and 11 each from Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson.
Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 28 first-half points for Boston. Jaylen Brown added 17 for the Celtics, but struggled on a 5-for-17 shooting night, and Derrick White scored 12.
Just like in Game 1, a huge run decided everything. The Celtics went on a 48-18 run in the second half to decide Game 1. The Warriors didn’t wait that long in Game 2, going 43-14 from the end of the first half to the start of the fourth quarter to turn a draw into an absolute runaway.
Game 3 is Wednesday in Boston.
Curry had 14 of his points in the third, making three of his five 3-pointers in the quarter. Boston was 4 for 15 in the quarter, outscored 21-6 of 3 and let the Warriors turn five turnovers into 11 points.
“Steph was breathtaking in that quarter,” Kerr said.
The Celtics turned a 15-point third-quarter deficit into a 15-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 1, but that wasn’t happening again on Sunday. Boston coach Ime Udoka even picked up a technique in an effort to show his displeasure with things including the whistles or lack thereof, to no avail.
“I just let them know how I felt throughout the game in a demonstrative way, on purpose, to get some technique,” Udoka said.
Poole provided the exclamation point late in the third quarter, taking a pass in the closing seconds, dribbling to the halfboard, creating some space and letting it fly.
Curry greeted him with a smile and a hug, the Chase Center fans rose to their feet — if they weren’t there already — and the outcome was pretty much decided.
And for the first time, the crowd in the new Warriors building finally saw the Celtics lose. Boston entered the night 4-0 in the 3-year-old home of the Warriors, the only team to win its first four games in the arena.
But giving up 33 points on 19 turnovers meant that streak had no chance of continuing.
“We have to take better care of the ball,” Tatum said.
The Celtics were keen to join just two other teams – the 1993 Chicago Bulls and the 1995 Houston Rockets – on the list of clubs that swept two road games to open the Finals. Those Bulls and Rockets won the championship, and 31 of the previous 36 teams to open with a 2-0 lead ended up celebrating a title.
All is not lost for Boston. The Celtics only need to win their remaining home games to become champions, although that won’t be easy against a Warriors team that has won at least one game on the road in a league-record 26 straight playoff series. NBA.
“It is what it is,” said Celtics’ Al Horford, who had 26 points in Game 1 and was held to two points on Sunday. “On to Game 3.”
Celtics: The Celtics fell to 8-3 on the road in these playoffs. They remain tied for the second most road wins in a single postseason; the record is nine, set by Houston in 1995. … Robert Williams III, who had knee problems throughout the playoffs, suffered a tough fall in the third quarter after being hit by Marcus Smart. He was substituted 21 seconds later and did not return. … Tatum and Brown had 40 of Boston’s first 54 points.
Warriors: Draymond Green’s impact on Game 2: nine points, seven assists, five rebounds, one technical foul and a ton of physicality. “No impact,” Horford said. … Andre Iguodala (inflamed right knee) was out for Game 2, having recorded 12 minutes in Game 1. But the knee swelled up on Saturday and he sat out for the 13th time in the Warriors’ last 14 games. … Gary Payton II played for the first time since fracturing his elbow in the Memphis Series.
The Warriors’ 35-14 third-quarter advantage was the 91st different quarterback in this playoffs where one team had a double-digit margin over the other. That’s the most ever in a single playoff year, surpassing 90 such quarters in the 2017 playoffs.
Players and coaches from both teams wore orange T-shirts before the game that had the words “End Gun Violence” on the front, a subject on which Kerr – whose father was killed in an act of gun violence ago 38 years old – often expressed himself. . “It’s about convincing politicians that things like background checks are really crucial and things that don’t impact people’s Second Amendment rights,” Kerr said.
Sunday marked the 31st anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first NBA Finals victory, when he and the Chicago Bulls passed the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 in 1991. Jordan made 13 straight shots in that game, the last of those the iconic change – hands-up layup in the fourth quarter. “A spectacular move by Michael Jordan,” was the call from NBC announcer Marv Albert.
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