So much for all the chatter that experience matters in the NBA Finals. The neophyte Boston Celtics put that concept on its ear by striking first in Game 1 in stunning fashion.
Behind a huge fourth-quarter rally, the Celtics came back to defeat the Golden State Warriors 120-108 on Thursday on the road. After the Warriors, who are playing in their sixth Finals in an eight-year span, used a third-quarter surge to take a double-digit lead, Boston stormed back in the fourth to win and steal homecourt advantage.
The Warriors responded with a 107-88 blowout win over the Celtics at home to even the series 1-1. The series now shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Wednesday.
GAME 2 X-FACTORS:Who could play a pivotal role for each team?
SPORTS NEWSLETTER:Get the latest news and analysis in your inbox
USA TODAY Sports will have live updates and analysis all evening as Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals gets underway.
There was no blowing a big third quarter lead in Game 2.
The Golden State Warriors vowed to play a more complete game after blowing a big lead in Game 1. Mission accomplished. They had another big third quarter in Game 2, then came on strong in the fourth quarter en route to a decisive 107-88 win to even the NBA Finals at 1-1.
The Warriors made seven 3s and outscored Boston 35-14 in the third quarter to break the game open. Stephen Curry had 14 of his 29 points in the third quarter, helping the Warriors to an 87-64.
Unlike in Game 1, the Celtics were never able to gain much traction for a comeback. Midway through the third quarter, the Celtics starters were on the bench.
Game 3 is Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.
Jayson Tatum paced the Celtics with 28 points, but he didn’t get much help. Jaylen Brown scored nine points in the first two minutes of the game but went just 2-for-14 the rest of the night.
The Boston Celtics are throwing in the towel early. Ime Udoka pulled his starters (Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown) with 10:45 seconds left in the fourth quarter, as the Celtics trailed the Warriors, 93-64. Steve Kerr quickly followed suit.
It wasn’t quite the 21-point first quarter that Steph Curry had in Game 1, but the Warriors star had 14 in the third quarter of Game 2, helping the Warriors to an 87-64. Curry made three 3-pointers in the quarter, including two 40 seconds apart late in the quarter. Then, Jordan Poole made two 3s to close the quarter – part of a 19-2 Warriors run in the final 4:17 of the third. The Warriors made seven 3s and outscored Boston 35-14 in the quarter. Curry has 29 points headed into the fourth quarter.
The Warriors heated up in the third quarter in Thursday’s Game 1, outscoring Boston 38-24 in the third quarter to grab a 92-80 lead.
Of course, the Celtics had a big fourth quarter to stun the Warriors and take Game 1, 120-108.
The Warriors were at it again in the third quarter of Game 2. They are having another big third quarter, turning a 52-50 halftime lead into a 68-56 lead midway through the third quarter. The big question will be if they can hold on.
The Warriors have a history of relaxing after gaining a big advantage. In this case, if they fail to hold the lead they will go back to Game 2 in Boston in an 0-2 hole.
The Warriors head into halftime with a 52-50 lead over the Celtics. Steph Curry leads Golden State with 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field and 2-for-6 from 3-point range. Andrew Wiggins added 10 points and Draymond Green had seven points, but he was close to receiving his second technical foul of the night following a dust-up with Jaylen Brown. Green fouled Brown while attempting a 3-point shot with 54.3 seconds left in the second quarter. Some pushing ensued after their legs got tangled up, but the refs didn’t asses any technicals.
Jayson Tatum exploded for 21 first-half points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 on 3s. It’s night and day from Game 1, where Tatum only scored 12 points. Brown finished the half with 15 points.
The Celtics got out to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter before the Warriors stormed back to take the lead. They are up one point after 12 minutes of play, 31-30.
Jayson Tatum got off to a better start in Game 2, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Jaylen Brown added 13 points for the Celtics. In fact, Tatum and Brown scored or assisted on 28 of the 30 Boston points.
Steph Curry led the Warriors with 10 points.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr walked into his pregame press conference wearing an “End Gun Violence” T-shirt.
Fifteen minutes later, Boston coach Ime Udoka entered the interview room wearing the same T-shirt.
“We feel very strongly as a league that it’s time for people to take notice and to take part in what should be a nationwide effort to limit the gun violence that’s out there,” Kerr said. “And there are ways to limit it. There are proven laws that are waiting to be passed, whether it’s background checks or what have you. There are things we can do that would not violate people’s Second Amendment rights but would save lives.
“The idea behind wearing the shirts for both teams is to make people aware that they can contribute to different gun safety, gun violence prevention groups.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green doesn’t think the Boston Celtics will make 21 3-pointers in Game 2.
“They hit 21 3s, and Marcus Smart and Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15 of them,” Green said, perusing the box score. “Yeah, 15-for-23 from those guys, you know, so, we’ll be fine.”
Having two days to review video of Boston’s 120-108 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors came back with a more clear picture of what went wrong in the series opener and what they need to do in Game 2 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ABC).
“We have to play with more force on the defensive end,” Green said. “I think there were times in the game when they didn’t feel us.”
— Jeff Zillgitt
Golden State’s Jordan Poole
Jordan Poole struggled in Game 1, his first NBA Finals game of his three-year career. He scored nine points on 2-for-7 shooting from the field and 1-for-5 from three, down from his 18.4-point average this postseason. He also committed a team-high four turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench. Whether it was “a lot of adrenaline” or “a lot of nerves,” as Steph Curry guessed after their Game 1 loss, the Warriors need Poole to settle in and score as he’s done to get to this point.
Boston’s Derrick White
Derrick White’s shooting has been inconsistent at times during the 2022 playoffs, but he knocked down a postseason career-high five 3-pointers in Game 1, which helped spur the Celtics’ fourth-quarter rally to win. He finished with 21 points off the bench on 6-for-11 shooting and 5-for-8 from three. White not only contributed on offense with his playmaking and shotmaking abilities, but his defense shined so much so that Boston’s Defensive Player the Year, Marcus Smart, didn’t have to enter the fourth quarter until the 3:47 mark.
— Cydney Henderson
Golden State will not have its full rotation for Game 2. Reserve forward Andre Iguodala has been ruled out for Sunday’s game due to right knee inflammation. Additionally, Otto Porter Jr. (left foot soreness) and Gary Payton II (left elbow fracture) are listed as questionable ahead of tip-off.
Iguodala played 12 minutes in Game 1, scoring seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with three assists. Prior to Game 1, Iguodala had not played since Game 4 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Nuggets. Iguodala has only appeared in four games this postseason.
Porter also returned from injury in Game 1 after missing the last two games of the Western Conference finals against Dallas. He had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 24 minutes. Payton was cleared to return in Game 1 but did not appear Thursday. He has not played since suffering a fractured elbow in Game 2 of the second round against the Grizzlies on a flagrant foul by Dillon Brooks.
Jeff Van Gundy will rejoin the ABC broadcast team Sunday for Game 2 of the NBA Finals after testing positive for COVID and missing Game 1, an ESPN spokesperson said. However, play-by-play announcer Mike Breen remains sidelined after testing positive and missing Game 7 between Boston and Miami in the Eastern Conference finals and Game 1 of the Finals between Boston and Golden State.
Mark Jones will again handle play-by-play duties alongside analysts Mark Jackson and Van Gundy with Lisa Salters returning to sideline reporting in Game 2. Breen is expected back for Game 3 Wednesday in Boston, according to ESPN.
The Golden State Warriors are not necessarily doomed to defeat in the NBA Finals because they lost Game 1 at home Thursday to the Boston Celtics. Though Draymond Green’s suggestion that the Warriors “dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes” is certainly overstated, they were the better team for a long enough stretch to suggest that they can win games in this series.
But the way Boston exploded in the fourth quarter of Game 1 puts the Warriors in danger of enduring a summer where the conversation revolves around a player who isn’t even on their roster: Kevin Durant.
For as much as the Warriors have restocked and reinvented since the 2019 Finals — what they’ve done this season to return to prominence is a very big deal — hindsight and history will not be as kind as it should be if they lose this series.
— Dan Wolken
Derrick White was one of the Boston Celtics’ key acquisitions during the season and has been credited with helping their stunning surge up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Celtics acquired White from the San Antonio Spurs in a multiplayer deal at the Feb. 10 trade deadline. At the time, the move didn’t garner much fanfare. But he has been an important role player for the Celtics — and he was crucial to their fourth-quarter surge that buried the Warriors in Game 1.
White scored 21 crucial points off the bench in Boston’s stunning 120-108 win. He was especially lethal from the 3-point line, going 5-for-8.
White has been a key player for the Celtics in their run to the Finals. He’s filled in as a starter for Marcus Smart when Smart missed games in the second and third rounds. He’s been dared to shoot by the Heat and then the Celtics and accepted the challenge. In White’s last three games, he has shot 11-for-18 from 3-point range.
“I mean, I kind of figured they would guard me like that going into the series,” White said. “I missed my first two, but they felt great so I just stayed confident. Teammates and coaches have always told me to stay confident. It’s good to see that one go down, and (I) just got on a roll from there.”