Celtics, Big 4th Helps Take a 1-0 Finals Lead over Steph, Warriors…

A team with no current NBA Finals experience on their roster, the Boston Celtics, went into the Chase center in San Francisco and took down a Golden State Warriors team in Game 1 120-108 that has appeared in 6 of the last 8 NBA Finals on Thursday night. 

Boston became the 3rd team to win Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the road (2013 San Antonio Spurs vs the Miami Heat and the 2004 Pistons against the Los Angeles Lakers). 

Photo By: Yahoo.com

The Warriors, who currently have a total of 123 games of Finals experience, were undefeated at home before this loss and went into the 4th with a 12-pt lead (92-80) against a team that hasn’t been here before. They used a big 3rd quarter to build that lead, outscoring Boston (38-24) and that should have been enough. 

But a 40-16 4th quarter by Boston, hit the Warriors with a haymaker they never recovered from and they became only the third team in Finals history to overcome a 12-pt deficit entering the 4th since the 92’ Chicago Bulls against the Portland Trailblazers in Game 6.  

Photo By: Yahoo.com

They knocked down 9 3-pt in the 4th led by the veteran of the group, Al Horford. He scored a team-high 26 points (6-8 from 3-pt) with 11 coming in the 4th, as he scored eight straight for Boston at one point in the quarter. Horford has played in 141 career playoff games before appearing in his first Finals.

“I felt like the guys kept finding me time after time. Also Derrick (White) hit some tough shots there, too,” Horford said. “I was just getting the looks, knocking them down. That’s that.”

Without their First Team All-NBA and reigning Larry Bird Eastern Conference MVP Jayson Tatum playing well offensively with just 12 points (3-17 FG) but did have a game-high 13 assist(which is most in a Finals debut), Jaylon Brown stepped up big in the second half. He scored 10 of his 24 in the 4th and had a team-high seven rebounds. 

“That’s why we’re a team and we don’t rely on one guy,” head coach Ime Udoka said after Tatum’s offensive struggles.

White, came up big off the bench with two big 3-pt in the 4th to help catch the Warriors at 103 as he finished with 21 points. 

Boston rode the bench players late into the 4th with starting point guard Marcus Smart sitting until about four minutes remaining, Smart who finished with 18 points helped knock down two big 3-pt in the 4th. 

This Boston team is now 8-2 on the road (four straight wins). 

Photo BY: Getty Images

This is the Warriors first time trailing in a series in this postseason. 

The home fans in the Chase center got a show from their superstar Steph Curry in the 1st quarter as he made 6-8 from deep (most in Finals history) and had 21 early points. They made things difficult for Curry from then on, as he had just 13 points the rest of the way but still finished with a game-high 34 points (7-14 3-pt). 

“It’s not ideal but I believe in who we are and how we deal with adversity, how we responded all year, how we respond in the playoffs after a loss,” Curry said. “So learn a lot from that fourth quarter, obviously they made a lot of shots. It seemed like they didn’t miss ’til deep into the fourth. When you have a team that just finds a little bit of momentum like they did and they keep making shots, it’s tough to kind of regain that momentum.”

Andrew Wiggins had 20 points and Klay Thompson had 15 points (6-14 FG). 

“It’s a different feeling. You obviously go into Game 2 with more of a sense of desperation. That’s all part of this stuff. We’ve been in this position before,” Kerr said. “Boston played a brilliant quarter. They came in and earned the win.”

They got a 12-pt contribution from Otto Porter Jr. who returned after missing the finals two games of the Conference Finals with a foot injury. 

“It’s fun. Now we get a chance to do something else,” Draymond Green, who had a game-high 11 rebounds, said in post-game about being down for the first time in a series in these playoffs. “Now we get to embrace the challenge.”

The two teams combined for a NBA Finals record 40 3-pt. 

A Warriors team that shares the ball better than anyone was a -9 in assists 33-24. 

Game 2 Sunday in Golden State 5pm PT

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