Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals live updates: Game 1 score, highlights

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NBA Finals: Can Celtics get their first win of the series on the road? | On site

Onsite: Game 1 of the NBA Finals – who will win? Warriors have the experience, but don’t write off the Celtics.

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The 2022 NBA Finals could be a testament to the importance of experience.

The Warriors core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green appeared in five consecutive Finals before defects and injuries caused them to miss the 2020 and 2021 playoffs.

They’re back now, aiming to win their fourth NBA title in the last eight seasons. But winning another title will not be an easy task against upstart Boston Celtics.

The Celtics reached the Finals for the first time since 2010 after making three Eastern Conference Finals appearances since Jayson Tatum joined Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to form a talented young core.

Can the Celtics go to San Francisco and steal Game 1? Or will the Warriors prevail in their first finals game at the Chase Center?

USA TODAY Sports will provide live updates and analysis throughout the evening as the 2022 NBA Finals begins

Payton II returns to the lineup for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, almost a month after breaking his left elbow in a serious foul-2 by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks during the Western Conference semifinals.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced that Payton, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. will be available for Game 1. They were all ruled questionable earlier Thursday.

“Hopefully you can see the OGP before the playoffs, the first round of the playoffs,” Payton told reporters during media day on Wednesday. “Other than that, I’m ready to go.”

Payton was averaging 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest in the playoffs prior to his injury.

– Cydney Henderson

Boston had encouraging news in its injury report: Marcus Smart is no longer listed. Smart missed Games 1 and 4 against Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals and was ruled doubtful for Game 7 with a sprained right ankle.

“The ankle, fairly bad injury. I’m grateful to be able to play, let alone walk,” Smart said on Wednesday. “It hurt, but my mum always told me when you’re going to be on the pitch, you can’t make excuses. If you’re hurt, sit down. If I’m going to be out there, no matter how much pain I’m in, I can’t let it affect me.”

Boston’s bigger concern is Robert Williams (left knee), who hobbled in Game 7 against Miami. He underwent surgery on March 30 to repair a torn meniscus.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Williams “will be listed the rest of the way from day to day how he reacts to that. We’ve kept his minutes lower in recent games against Miami and his availability has been up and down this game. It’s a real everyday situation.

– Jeff Zillgitt

Stephen Curry suffered a left foot injury late in the first half of the Warriors game against the Celtics on March 16. The injury left Warriors coach Steve Kerr upset when Marcus Smart lashed out after a loose ball in the game. Kerr called it a “dangerous” game as he thought Smart “dipped in Steph’s knee” as Curry missed the rest of the regular season. Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 72 points in the Celtics’ 110-88 win in San Francisco. Curry scored 30 points in their Dec. 17 meetup, which the Warriors won 111-107 in Boston.

– Duane Rankin

1. Clay Thompson: After missing two full seasons with multiple injuries, Thompson returned to action in January.

He flashed early, still hasn’t shown consistency with his shot, but has been special in Golden State’s last two closeout games. Thompson had 30 in Game 6 against Memphis and 32 in Game 5 against Dallas, hitting 8-of-16-of-3.

After everything he’s been through, Thompson deserves this special moment.

2. Ime Udoka: Brad Stevens’ transition from head coach to president of basketball operations drew more attention than hiring the longtime NBA assistant. After coaching under Gregg Popovich for seven seasons (2012-19), Udoka learned from the best, but the Celtics went 16-19 before beating Phoenix on New Year’s Eve. They won 35 of their last 47 regular-season games, setting the stage for a place in the finals.

3. Al Horford: His first run in Boston was an overall disappointment. The Celtics failed to win a championship and he failed to live up to expectations. Horford has been with two teams in the previous two seasons, with his year-long rebuild of Oklahoma City ending by playing the last 28 games.

After returning to Boston, the veteran forward did more than help the Celtics reach the Finals.

– Duane Rankin

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