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GAME ESSENTIALS: Celtics (51-31) vs. Warriors (53-29), at 5 p.m. PT. TV: ABC
OPPORTUNITIES: Warrior -4.5. OVER UNDER: 215.
FINAL SERIES UPDATE: Celtics lead, 1-0. LAST PLAYOFF MEETING: Celtics won the 1964 NBA Finals 4-1.
A shocking fourth-quarter slump saw the Warriors lose in Game 1 — and now they have their backs to the wall in Game 2.
The Celtics beat the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter and stole Game 1 at the Chase Center. Boston had massive shooting nights from Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Derrick White, who combined 15-to-23 from 3-point range to help the Celtics win the game.
Since Steve Kerr took over as coach in 2014-15, this is only the third time the Warriors have lost the first game of a playoff series and the second time at home (another time was the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Thunder ). Only Warriors leads Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala remain from this series, but they stress that it’s not the time to panic.
But even when they don’t panic, there is undoubtedly a sense of urgency and desperation for the warriors. While Curry and Andrew Wiggins were both really solid on Thursday, Thompson and Green didn’t play great. And perhaps more than anyone, they need their recent star Jordan Poole to face the situation and put on a much better game than they did on Thursday.
Golden State could also use some of the defensive tenacity that Gary Payton II brings despite not being used in Game 1 as he’s still recovering from his broken elbow. He said he had no complaints and could play 48 minutes if asked.
Is Payton playing at all on Sunday? And if so, how effective can it be? Can Green, Thompson and/or Poole advance after their lackluster efforts in Game 1? And can the Warriors avoid dropping both home games to start a streak and dig themselves a likely insurmountable hole?
Follow reporters Madeline Kenney, Shayna Rubin and Can Inman, and columnist Dieter Kurtenbach to break down these questions and more in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.