Boston Celtics Withstand Stephen Curry’s 3-pointers for Game 3 Win

BOSTON — It was only the second quarter, but the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum appeared determined to build on a theme as he eyed an opportunity Wednesday night. He took a hard dribble at Stephen Curry, turning right and driving straight onto the lane before putting a layup over his smaller defender.

The Celtics were keen to familiarize themselves with the basket in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. So they used their size to bully various members of the Golden State Warriors at the low post and from dribbling. They tried layups. They dove. They threw short sweaters from the glass.

In the process, Boston even survived one of Golden State’s signature third-quarter runs to walk away with a 116-100 win at TD Garden and take a 2-1 lead in the series. Game 4 takes place in Boston on Friday.

The Celtics, who opened the fourth quarter with a healthy cushion, were led by Jaylen Brown with 27 points and 9 rebounds. Tatum added 26 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, and Marcus Smart finished with 24 points. Curry had 31 points in the loss and Klay Thompson added 25. The Celtics did most of the damage in the Color, where they surpassed Golden State 52-26.

After the first two games were played in San Francisco, the series moved to Boston, a fitting venue for the finals as the league celebrates the last flickering glow of its 75th anniversary. The Celtics are chasing their 18th championship while Golden State makes it to the Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons.

Two of the league’s original franchises, the Celtics and the Warriors, now reflect each other in another important way: Both rosters were created largely through drafting. And while Boston are participating in a finals tournament for the first time since 2010, Celtics coach Ime Udoka said he hopes to build on Golden State’s long-term success.

“It’s a model for what we want to do here,” Udoka said.

The Celtics, who lost Game 2 on Sunday, have not lost a straight game this postseason. Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Udoka cited his team’s resilience.

“I think we got over it pretty quickly,” he said, “and attacked the areas where we were doing poorly and tried to improve on those.”

Recognition…Paul Rutherford/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

About an hour and a half before the start of Game 3, as some Golden State players took the field for an individual warm-up, reserve guard Gary Payton II noticed that one of the rims appeared to be slightly torn off. He was right: it was about two inches too high.

“It happens every now and then,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said before the game. “The players have a very keen eye for that.”

The rim was soon lowered to its proper 10-foot height, but it didn’t seem to help. Golden State got off to a brutal start, missing 11 of their first 15 field goal attempts as Boston took a 24-9 lead. To make matters worse, Curry picked up two early fouls.

If there were concerns for the Celtics, it was in the form of Tatum’s right shoulder, which he first injured in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. On Wednesday, he grimaced in pain after pulling a foul on an early drive.

But his 3-pointer midway through the second quarter gave the Celtics an 18 lead. Boston shot 57.4 percent from the field and took a 68-56 lead at halftime.

However, all eyes were on the start of the second half. In Games 1 and 2, Golden State had dominated both third quarters, outperforming Boston by a total of 35 points. The third quarter was particularly problematic for the Celtics in Game 2 as they shot 4 of 17 from the field, committed five turnovers and were outplayed 35-14. A tight game quickly turned into a defeat.

On Wednesday, Golden State trailed by 9 as the team conjured even more magic in the third quarter. Curry made a 3-pointer and absorbed the contact for good measure as the Celtics’ Al Horford slid under him. It was called a flagrant 1 foul, meaning Golden State would keep the ball after a free throw.

Curry sunk the free throw, then Otto Porter Jr. buried another 3 point for a 7 point possession that cut Boston’s lead to 2.

It was a fearful moment for the Celtics, who could have folded but instead showed their toughness again. Early in the fourth quarter, Smart banked a 3-pointer. Moments later, Grant Williams corralled an offensive rebound for a putback, forcing Kerr to time out as the home crowd went wild.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.