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Celtics strike back on Warriors in Game 3, Curry's health in doubt
Boston protected homecourt to take a 2-1 advantage in the 2022 NBA Finals. Hmmmm
If you had told me before the series started that the Boston Celtics would impose their will on the Golden State Warriors in their home Game 3 in an entertaining battle, I’d say yeah that makes sense. I predicted this series would go in between 5-6 games in favor of the Warriors, and if there was any game the Celts would rise to the occasion, it’d be the first NBA Finals game in Boston since Paul Pierce was plying his trade in 2010.
But if you had told me before the series that the G3 116-100 home win would give the Celtics a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals, I’d be reacting more like Gary Payton II’s dad in this viral gif:
That’s why Golden State’s epic collapse at home in Game 1 was so jarring. Blowing quality opportunities against the Eastern Conference champion means that an already small window of opportunity for victory shrinks to “need to damn near be perfect to get the job done”.
Thankfully, we’ve seen this core pull this off before (in 2015 they were down 2-1 in the Western semifinals to the Grizzlies, and in the Finals to the LeBronians). But here’s some concerns for Dub Nation to parse through as they await for tipoff and hopefully the sweet taste of vengeance in Game 4.
Side note: I used to be SO ANNOYED reading the Spurs blog Pounding the Rock after the Warriors would be taking it to them during the fall of their dynasty and the rise of ours. Those fans would always have some super calm and erudite takes based on historical references of their franchise overcoming previous adversity; no loss could rattle them (that is until Zaza Pachulia allegedly committed manslaughter on Kawhi Leonard). Now look at me over here like “being down 2-1 is nothing to a boss, we’ve been here before!”, sheesh is this what championship resolve feels like?
When Boston is rolling, they do an excellent job using their size and athleticism to wear down Golden State and force them out of character.
The Celtics had a 52-26 advantage in paint points. They got downhill with dribble penetration, barreling through Warriors defenders like turnstiles as Six Flags. They zipped passes around beautifully to discombobulate Golden State’s defense and get easy dunks.
And they killed the Dubs on the boards. Boston outrebounded the Dubs 47-31, with a staggered 15-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Nine extra possessions for a team as skilled and as hungry as the Celtics is a recipe for disaster. Kevon Looney played 17 minutes and snagged 7 rebounds (tied for team high in boards with Andrew Wiggins), but I wonder if he didn’t play more because Coach Steve Kerr was looking for more spacing on offense as Boston’s defense ratcheted up the pressure.
The Boston crowd was sizzling hot for this one, and they energized their guys to boldly seize the game from the Warriors with a 33-22 rout in the first quarter and a strangling 23-11 run in the final period.
That crowd was also raining derision on Draymond Green, the guy whose job it is to anchor Golden State’s defense and protect the paint, two things that didn’t get done last night.
In 35 minutes, the Olympian tallied 2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 block, 2 turnovers, and 6 fouls. This is exactly the type of game that makes folks pine for the promise of the injured giant James Wiseman and curse the Warriors front office for not adding another center to the roster. Boston was getting to the rim with impunity and gobbling up their misses while the Dubs looked TOO SMALL, ERNIE.
After a stellar Game 2, last night just didn’t go Green’s way. He became a lightning rod for criticism in light of how a vocal contingent believe his “New Media” responsibilities may be affecting his play:
It’s pretty amazing that Green has raised his media profile so high that people HAVE to listen to his podcast in order to catch real time updates during this challenging time of his basketball career. Can you imagine Dennis Rodman podcasting during the height of the Chicago Bulls dynasty after taking a loss in the NBA Finals? The ratings would be off the freakin’ charts!
But podcast clicks don’t win championships as Green is fully aware. What does win championships is weathering adversity and minimizing self-inflicted mistakes, something he has proven he can help lead GSW to do.
The Dubs will have a beautiful chance to take Game 5. Hopefully Stephen Curry will be healthy enough to make a difference after suffering a foot injury in a thrilling 31-point performance.