Celtics beat Warriors 116-100, Lead NBA Finals 2-1

@brockhoff55 recaps Game 3 of the NBA Finals ahead of Game 4 tonight. Who will take this one home?

After two dynamic and exciting games to kick off the 2022 NBA finals, the Warriors and Celtics headed across the country to play two more in Boston. Boston took game one, and game two was even until the third quarter Warriors took over. Both of these teams looked pretty even heading into a very important game three.

Game Recap

The Celtics got off to an extremely hot and high-scoring start in this one. Boston put up 33 points in the first quarter while holding Golden State to just 22, good enough for an eleven-point lead after one. Jaylen Brown had over half of the Celtics’ first-quarter points, with 17 of his own.

The second quarter was just as high scoring, except for both teams this time. The Celtics improved off their first quarter with a whopping 35-point second quarter, and the Warriors nearly matched that with a 34-piece of their own. Boston went into halftime with a 68-56 lead.

As always, the Warriors stormed out of the gate in the third quarter, and immediately made it a game, even taking the lead late in the period. The Warriors put up 33 in the third, but the 25-point effort from the Celtics was enough to keep a four-point lead in the fourth.

A combination of a sensational defensive effort from Boston and Stephen Curry exiting early with an injury helped Boston to a 16-point win, and the series lead. The second half was much more back-and-forth than the first, but excellent games from Tatum, Brown, and Smart helped the Celtics hold on to win. Boston now leads the NBA Finals two games to one.

Stat Leaders

Speaking of those three, they collectively made NBA history. Tatum, Brown and Smart were the first three teammates with 24+ points, 5+ rebounds, and 5+ assists in an NBA finals game since 1984. Those three also combined for 77 points altogether.

Aside from scoring, Celtics’ center Robert Williams was exceptional. Williams had 10 rebounds, four blocks, and three steals. Steph led the Warriors with 31 points, and Klay Thompson had 25 of his own. Draymond Green really struggled during this game, scoring just two points and fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Neither team shot terribly well, with the Warriors shooting at a 38% clip, compared to 37% for Boston. Boston’s real advantage came on the glass, outrebounding Golden State 47-31.

Highlights

What’s Next?

The Celtics lead the NBA Finals 2-1, and they’ll look to make it 3-1 on Friday night. That game will take place at 9:00pm eastern time on Friday night, on ABC.

Three Keys for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals

Tonight, the Golden State Warriors kick off their NBA Finals battle against the Boston Celtics. The series is sure to be a battle for both teams. So let’s take a look at three keys the Warriors must keep in mind if they want to win this series.

1. Limit the turnovers.

Almost every Warriors fan has been talking about this throughout the postseason. Golden State has the second-most turnovers per game in the NBA and the most out of any playoff team. The playoffs haven’t changed anything, as the Warriors still struggle with maintaining possession of the ball.

When facing a defensive-minded team like the Celtics, turnovers can haunt a team. Especially in the finals, easy points for the opposition cannot happen. The Warriors must fix this problem if they want to take down the Celtics.

2. Put their foot on the gas as soon as the game starts.

It’s been well known for a while that the Warriors have played their best basketball in the second half. They’ve received the nickname the “3rd Quarter Warriors” due to their dominant stretches throughout the third quarter since the beginning of the dynasty.

As fun as it is to see Golden State thrive in the second half, they need to do the same thing in the first. In the first quarter, the Warriors rank 17th in points per quarter amongst NBA teams. The only quarter that they consistently fall short, is the first. Boston’s defense is prepared to bite at every missed opportunity in the first, which will probably lead to easy points for the Celtics. If the Warriors get too far behind in the first half, a comeback may be hard to come by.

3. Know where Marcus Smart is at all times.

This one may confuse people, as players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are more valuable to the Celtics. However, Marcus Smart is the best defender and most versatile player on the court. The defensive player of the year can make plays, score buckets, and lock up almost any player in the NBA.

The Celtics’ game plan could have Marcus Smart in many different roles throughout the finals: a shot creator, a playmaker, a facilitator, or all of those. Golden State must know how valuable he is to Boston, and make sure he’s not causing trouble and confusion on the court. If he does, not only will he start making plays, but his teammates will capitalize on his efforts and score at will.

The Warriors have an uphill battle in the finals. If they can capitalize on these three keys, they may be able to bring home their fourth championship in seven years.