Boston came into the game as expected, carried by a boiling TD Garden. They beat the Warriors at their own game by dominating the key (52-26), offensive rebound (15-6), and second chances (22-11). Despite everything, a festival of the “Splash Brothers” allowed the Warriors to believe in the third quarter before Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum responded with authority. As before Game 2, Golden State therefore finds itself with its back to the wall, but this time on enemy soil and with Stephen Curry suffering from his left leg after contact with Al Horford in the last quarter.
Back on their floor, the Celtics hit hard from the start. They start the game at 3/4 from 3-pointers, being much more disciplined than in Game 2 on their spacing and the positioning of each player to make the Golden State defense pay. Boston also targets Stephen Curry in one-on-one and back to the basket and the latter receives two quick fouls. Dominated in intensity but also in concentration, the Warriors rush in attack and chain errors in defense. Thanks to 17 points from Jaylen Brown, the Celtics are up to 15 points ahead, before five points from Klay Thompson limit the break (33-22).
The “Splash Brother” confirms its awakening by adding seven points to keep Golden State in ambush but the Golden State defense continues to suffer in the face of the Celtics’ incessant drives. If the Warriors help, Boston punishes from afar. If they don’t help, the C’s end up in the circle. Like a Jayson Tatum who rages in both sectors, the Celtics confirm to take a 17-point lead (56-39).
Two missed free throws from Al Horford, a missed layup from Jayson Tatum, and a stray ball from Marcus Smart, however, give the Warriors 10-0 in 60 seconds thanks to two award-winning tris from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, and a dunk from Andrew Wiggins (56-49). A 2+1 from Derrick White, however, allows Boston to raise its head. They benefited from a loose ball from Draymond Green which should have kept the Warriors at -8, but at halftime, it was the Celtics who kept the momentum (68-56).
The Warriors do it twice but still dominate the 3rd quarter
Two award-winning shots from Stephen Curry bring Golden State down to -8 and throw a chill in the TD Garden (72-64). Are we going to witness a new domination of the 3rd quarter by the Warriors? However, Steve Kerr’s men once again give the stick to be beaten. Stephen Curry makes his 4th foul on Marcus Smart at 3-point. The Boston point guard continues by causing a stray ball and the Warriors forget to fall back while Jaylen Brown goes to dunk. Everything is to be redone for Golden State (77-64).
The Warriors are not giving up, however. Their defense raises the tone and the hot hand of Stephen Curry becomes boiling. The double MVP adds a third shot from 3-pointers, with a flagrant foul as a bonus when Al Horford had prevented him from landing cleanly. Curry converts the free throw and Golden State retains possession which ends with another award-winning shot, this time from Otto Porter Jr. In the process, Curry hits the mark again from long range to finish an 11-0 that puts the Warriors in front ( 83-82)! It then takes an important 3-point from Marcus Smart to stop the bleeding before six points and two assists from Jayson Tatum restore air to the Celtics (93-89).
Boston capitalizes on this good passage to dictate its law during the first three minutes of the last quarter. They force three loss of balls, take two offensive rebounds, and the Smart – Tatum pair launches a 9-2 which puts Golden State back on the ropes (102-91).
The Warriors will not be able to get back into it. They keep losing balls to Boston’s aggressive defense and dropping offensive rebounds. As the Dubs rush again, Jayson Tatum meticulously attacks the circle and the Celtics race to a deserved victory. They therefore regain the advantage in these Finals and will have a golden opportunity to take the break on Friday at TD Garden!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Boston finally puts pressure on the opposing circle. While the Celtics had finished the first two games of this final with the fewest points in the key in the history of the Finals, they turned the tide to start this third game. Pushed by their fans, Brown, Tatum and Smart attacked the circle relentlessly, outpacing Golden State’s overly rough defensive rotations. Boston has, however, varied its way of attacking the circle. They targeted Stephen Curry low post, and were much more aggressive than in the first two games on the offensive rebound. At halftime, Boston led 32-16 in the key, 16/22 on shots, and had 13 points on their 8 offensive rebounds. This onslaught from the circle also resulted in open 3-pointers for Boston.
– The “Splash Brothers” relaunch the match. All the Warriors rivals had the opportunity to see Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson catch fire on the field, in front of their fans. Boston was no exception to the rule. The two gunslingers blew up the Celtics defense in the third quarter. It was Curry who struck first, scoring his first three attempts from long range, before adding a half-range shot and a fourth banderilla to put the Warriors ahead. Klay Thompson took over to prevent Boston from recreating the gap late in the third quarter. Between them, they scored 25 of Golden State’s 33 points on 8/13 shooting, including 6/9 from 3-pointers.
– The Celtics respond as a boss. After Stephen Curry’s 3-pointer put the Warriors ahead with just under four minutes to play, the Celtics could have imploded. On the contrary, they took up this challenge. Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum not only stopped the bleeding, but also cut their opponent’s rhythm. They went on strong in the final quarter, scoring 16 of their team’s 23 points. The Celtics also finished the game as they started it, with much more intensity, determination and focus than the Warriors. While Golden State had lost 9 balls in the first three quarters, they lost 8 in the last period due to defensive pressure from Boston. As a symbol of that extra will, the Celtics also grabbed 4 offensive rebounds that hurt Golden State’s morale.
✅ Jayson Tatum. The Celtics leader took responsibility at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth to stop the Warriors’ “momentum” and give his team the victory. He finished with 26 points, 9/23 on shots, 9 assists, 6 rebounds.
✅Marcus Smart. After losing 5 balls in the first three quarters, Marcus Smart came to support Tatum after the Warriors woke up to reverse the trend. He finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
✅ Jaylen Brown. Like in Game 2, he set the tone for Boston. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the first half and was decisive in defense late in the game. He also had 9 rebounds and delivered 5 assists.
✅Robert Williams. Still on one leg, the Celtics pivot was essential tonight. He finished as the game’s top rebounder (10) and managed to better manage the pick & roll against Stephen Curry.
✅Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson. The “Splash Brothers” scored 56 points between them, including 11 award-winning shots, to limit the breakage in the first half, before making their effort in the third quarter. However, they only scored 2 points in the last quarter.
⛔ Draymond Green – Kevon Looney. Golden State’s pair of interiors have been under fire all night. Kevon Looney only played 17 minutes and lost his duel with Robert Williams, while Draymond Green finished with 2 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 personal fouls.
Game 4: Friday night into Saturday in Boston.