The Boston Celtics fed off their crowd and came out with a lot of energy in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Jaylen Brown had 22 of his 27 points in the first half, nine rebounds, and five assists; Jayson Tatum added 26 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, and Marcus Smart chipped in with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists as Boston defeated the Warriors 116-100 at TD Garden to take a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4 is Friday night in Boston.
The Celtics had their largest lead of 18 points in the first half and led 68-56 at halftime. However, in the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 25-10 run to take their first lead since the first quarter as Steph Curry(15) and Klay Thompson(10) combined for 25 points in the quarter, but things fell apart for the Warriors in the fourth.
The Warriors were outscored 23-11 in the fourth as they shot 33% from the floor and 1/9 from downtown. The Celtics went on a 17-7 run to take a 14-point lead, taking complete control from there.
Curry, who had a game-high 31 points, including six threes, said the first quarter, where the Warriors trailed 33-22 after one, and the first few minutes of the fourth sunk the Warriors.
“That first two or three minutes kind of set the tone for the rest of the fourth and gave them a little bit of a cushion,” Curry said. “We had a hard time responding after that. So between the first three minutes of the fourth and the first 12 minutes of the game, that was pretty much it.”
Things went from bad to worse for the Warriors as Curry’s leg was rolled up on late in the fourth. Curry would remain in the game until he was removed along with the rest of the starters.
According to Curry, who missed 12 games in the regular season after injuring his foot against the Celtics in March, he should be fine.
“I’ll be all right,” he said. “I got caught — obviously in some pain, but I’ll be all right. See how it feels tomorrow and get ready for Friday…
“Same thing I did in Denver — or against Boston in the regular season, but I’ll be — not as bad.”
If the Warriors don’t have Curry, they won’t win this series. It’s that simple. Hopefully, for the Warriors, the NBA, and the fans, Curry will be ready to go in Game 4.
Draymond Green, who was public enemy number one in Boston, was not very good Wednesday night as he had two points, four rebounds, and three assists in 35 minutes of action. Green would foul out in the fourth.
According to StatMuse, Green has as many fouls as points, more techs than threes, and more turnovers than baskets.
When asked how he played in Game 3, Green said: “Like sh**.”
Earlier in the season, when the Bostons Celtics were floundering, many were calling for the team to trade either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown.
After a loss to the Bulls in November, Marcus Smart called out Tatum and Brown and said the following:
“Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen,” Smart said. “I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball.”
On Wednesday, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka discussed that moment during NBA Finals media availability.
“The thing about the Chicago game was that nothing said publicly had not been said privately,” Udoka said. “Although it may rub people wrong because it was said publicly, that was something we were working on behind the scenes every day, film session, one-on-one sessions. We all understood the areas we need to improve. That was what it was, and we moved past that pretty quickly.”
That moment changed things for the Celtics.
As the season progressed, Tatum and Brown figured it out, and after falling to 18-21 in January, Boston went 33-10 over the final 43 games.
Brown became a first-time All-Star, and Tatum was first-team All-NBA for the first time in his career.
The duo had big moments together in the regular and the playoffs. In April, Tatum had 31 points and six assists, while Brown added 32 points and seven assists in the 128-123 victory over the Pacers. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first time since Game 2 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Semifinals that two Celtics had recorded 30 points and five assists in the same game.
Tatum and Brown are averaging at least 20 points per game during the 2022 playoffs. According to StatMuse, they are the third pair of teammates aged 25 or younger to reach the NBA Finals, with each player averaging 20 or more points per game.
Both Tatum and Brown discussed the struggles.
“Were there like moments that were tough? It was just like, you know, it was very frustrating,” Tatum said. “You know, head-scratching and all those type of things. It was more so, how can we figure it out? It wasn’t, like man, we can’t do this. It was; we got to figure something else out. It was tough. There were definitely some tough moments…
“Beginning of this year, every game was like, I don’t know if we’re going to win. It was a lot tougher than it should be, and that’s something I wasn’t used to.”
Brown added: “Last year, obviously things didn’t work out, etc., for other reasons, but this year, I didn’t feel like it was because of the way we played basketball. I just think they didn’t come together at the right time. Early on in the season, I was injured. I missed about 15 games. You know, the narrative isn’t going to say that. They are just going to say that you guys lost. Doesn’t matter what the excuse is. We’ve got a first-year head coach. We were trying to figure it out. We play in a city that it has no patience for any excuses, so we didn’t make any. But as things started to come together, we got healthier. We made a couple moves in the front office that were vital for us, and things started to fall in line.”
If the Smart moment doesn’t happen, who knows if Boston would be in the Finals at this point? But one thing is for sure, the Celtics have figured it out and are four wins away from winning an NBA title.
This is a tough series to call. Both teams are defending at a high level, and both teams are getting production from multiple players. The Warriors have the experience as this is the sixth time they have been to the Finals in the last eight years, while no one on the Celtics has been on this stage before.
However, it might come down to who has the best player, and you can argue that Tatum has been one of the best players in these playoffs, and Brown has not been too far behind. In addition, Boston has been battled-tested in these playoffs as they won two Game 7s. One on the road and one at home.
The Warriors do have something to prove as they want to show that the duo of Curry, Thompson, and Green can another title without Kevin Durant.
Here’s a shot in the dark: Warriors in 7, but Boston in 7 would not be surprising.
After three years away, the Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals after defeating the Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Golden State won the series 4-1.
The NBA Finals begin next Thursday at Chase Center.
The Warriors last made the Finals in 2019 when they lost to the Toronto Raptors, and that was with Kevin Durant leading the way.
Durant is off in Brooklyn, who got swept in their opening round series by the Celtics, while Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are on their way to the Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons.
After Durant left, things went south for the Warriors as they missed the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s been rough for the Warriors, but now they are back.
“The fact me, Klay, Draymond, from 2015 to now, six out of eight years having a chance to compete for a championship,” Curry, who had 15 points and nine assists and won the Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP, said after the win. “The feeling leaving 2019 Finals and realizing, like, we had been on an amazing journey, then got hit with a lot of adversity, some speed bumps, but never lost the faith we could get back here.”
Green, who had 17 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, added: “After being counted out, dynasty is over, all of those things. To get back here it’s fantastic. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication and to an incredible organization. We continue to stick with it, show what we’re capable of. This one feels great. But got four more wins to get.”
Thompson missed the past two years after tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals and tearing his Achilles in 2020, and he was big-time in Game 5 as he had a game-high 32 points, including eight threes. After the game, Thompson was emotional, and he explained why.
“Just such a surreal feeling,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to put into words, really. This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful. All those emotions kind of rushed through me, and I thought about our training staff, I thought about Rick Celebrini, I thought about Steve, I thought about those days me and Rick were together in Santa Cruz, and I was in a terrible mood.
“We were together in the summertime. All those long days. They would tell me it would pay off. It was hard to see that at the time. Now to actually be here, I can feel it paying off.”
Golden State is back, and they are playing at a high level. Plus, they will have homecourt advantage in the Finals. In addition, the Warriors could get back Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II.
However, they have to still win four more games. Based on the way they’re playing right now, the Warriors will be the favorites and will be tough to beat.
Steph Curry put on a show Sunday night and put a bow on All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. Curry had 50 points on 17/30 shooting from the floor, including 16/27 from three-point range as Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 163-160 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Cleveland fans booed Curry throughout All-Star Weekend, but he turned to jeers to cheers after this special performance.
The 16 threes are an All-Star game record, and he fell two points short of the All-Star record of 52 points, which Anthony Davis set in 2017.
Curry has done a lot during his NBA career. He’s won two regular-season MVPs, three NBA titles, but he’s never won an All-Star MVP. After his fantastic performance, Curry became the first recipient of the Kobe Bryant Trophy as he was named All-Star MVP.
“This is definitely special,” Curry said. “The first year you got to honor Kobe and his life and his legacy with this trophy. All the thought that went into it. I can’t spit it off the top I my head, but I know that everything on this trophy means something in terms of his life and what he represented, accomplishments on the court, and to have it be an All-Star MVP trophy and for it to be the first one, it definitely makes it special. I’ve only won one, and to have this one, it will have a special place at my house.”
Both Curry and LeBron James were born in the same hospital in Akron, Ohio, and it was fitting that James, who spent many years with the Cavaliers, would be the guy that hit the game-winner, which Curry discussed postgame.
“Yeah, I told him on the court after the game it was kind of a perfect ending,” Curry said. “I was chasing that extra two or three points. I think DeMar(DeRozan) hit a big shot, and then he came out and hit the game-winner. It was kind of a perfect ending. Obviously, I got the MVP; I played well the whole night. He hit the game-winner. All the history of our series and the Akron ties, and all that kind of going into how the night went, so it was pretty — can’t really draw it up any other way. It’s right on the nose of how it should go.”
At halftime, the NBA, which is celebrating its 75th season, honored the top 75 players in league history, and Curry, who was on the list, enjoyed being around some of the greats of the game.
“It definitely took me back to just growing up watching the game,” he said. “There was a moment we were out there; we didn’t want to leave the stage. I don’t know if anybody saw. I was just enjoying the moment. With me, D-Wade, CP, Bron, Giannis. Somebody else was over there. We were all kind of just acknowledging how we were like kids in a candy store laughing and just what was actually happening and what that accomplishment actually means, and you look around and see all-time greats that we looked up to coming up in the game.
“I couldn’t stop smiling. I don’t think I will for a while. You see the names on the list, and you understand and appreciate when the announcement came out that you made the team and all that, but when you see them in person, and you feel like the aura of what they were and are in terms of history of the game, it’s just a whole different experience. That was special.”
The Warriors(42-17) are 6.5 games behind the Suns(48-10) for the top spot in the Western Conference. Golden State is expected to get back All-Star Draymond Green and James Wiseman, and Curry is excited about what the Warriors could be going forward.
“All we can do is control what we can control, and I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of that so far,” Curry said. “Like you said, we’ve had a lot of injuries, and we haven’t been whole in a very long time. When Klay(Thompson) came back, Draymond was out the same night—still waiting on the three of us to take the floor again. But it’s all kind of shaping up to try to peak at the right time. Hopefully, Draymond is back quick. Still got Wise (James Wiseman) on the burner, ready to make his appearance this year, and then figure out what our rotation is going to look like going into the best part of the year. But to be in that conversation again after last two years that we’ve had, I’m pretty rejuvenated and excited to be back in that atmosphere.”
The Suns will be without Chris Paul for the rest of the regular season, so maybe the Warriors could make a push for the top spot in the West in the final seven weeks of the season. No matter what happens with Phoenix, Golden State is a legitimate contender for an NBA title.
It was “Klay Day” Sunday night at Chase Center as Warriors star Klay Thompson returned after missing two-plus years due to ACL and Achilles injuries.
In his return, Thompson scored 17 points, including three threes. This was a great day for Thompson, a great day for the Warriors, and a great day for the NBA.
Oh, by the way, Golden State defeated the Cavs 96-82.
Golden State(30-9) snapped their two-game losing streak, while the Cavs(22-18) have lost two of three.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Warriors.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
Fourth Quarter Rondo: Rajon Rondo set a season-high in points for the second straight night. He scored 13(5/6 FG, 3/3 3 PT) of his 15 points in the fourth. Golden State led by as many as 21 points in the fourth, and two Rondo threes cut the lead to 10 on two occasions. Rondo did everything in his power to get the Cavs back into the game, but it wasn’t enough.
No Fear Stevens: Lamar Stevens played with no fear Sunday night. The second-year guard scored a career-high 17 points with four rebounds and two steals. Whether it was guarding Thompson or finishing at the rim, Stevens was fearless.
The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:
Turnovers: Cleveland was reckless with the ball Sunday night. They committed 19 turnovers, which led to 25 Warrior points. Evan Mobley was the biggest culprit with five turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over against one of the best teams in basketball and expect to win.
Rebounding: The Warriors outrebounded Cleveland 54-42, including 22 offensive rebounds. In addition, Golden State had 22 second-chance points. Again, you can’t give a team like the Warriors extra possessions and extra opportunities and expect to win.
Third Quarter: After taking a 51-46 lead at the break, Golden State outscored the Cavs 28-14 in the third. The Warriors led 66-55 midway through the third, and they went on a 13-0 run to take their largest lead of 24 points. Cleveland struggled with shotmaking as they shot 40% from the floor, including 1/5 from deep in the quarter.
Darius Garland: Garland is undoubtedly playing like an All-Star, but he came up short on the big stage. He shot 3/12 from the floor and finished with nine points, two rebounds, and four assists; he also had four turnovers.
The moment seemed too big for the young Cavaliers. That was a playoff atmosphere Sunday night, and the Cavs were not ready for the moment. However, Cleveland will learn from this game.
The goal for this team is to make the playoffs, and they will experience these types of environments come playoff time.
“I’m going to take it one step further; it felt like a Finals game,” Allen said after a reporter asked him if it felt like a playoff atmosphere. “I mean, everything that the Warriors did, they got a big cheer from the crowd, but that is to be expected when you come to the Chase Center. They have great fans here, and they are going to make the game intense. We kinda looked at the moment, and we kinda – J.B.(Bickerstaff) said in the locker room that we shied away from it – and I think that is true. We didn’t play to who we are; we kinda played timidly.”
Cleveland gets right back at it Monday night as they travel to Sacramento to play the Kings. The Cavs will play five games in seven days
Best of the Rest:
-Steph Curry had a game-high 28 points for the Warriors, including 4/11 from downtown.
-Jarrett Allen added 12 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks; Mobley chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds for Cleveland.
Watch below as Allen talks loss to Warriors:
It was fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end. After 18 straight wins, the Phoenix Suns’ (19-4) winning streak is over. The Suns fell to the Warriors 118-96 at Chase Center Friday night.
The last time Phoenix tasted defeat was on October 27 against the Sacramento Kings. The Suns had a perfect month of November(16-0), including Tuesday’s 104-96 win over the Warriors at Footprint Center.
On Friday, Golden State(19-3) was in control from the start and ultimately led by as many as 27 points.
It’s always good to win, and according to Chris Paul, who had 12 points and eight assists against the Warriors, the streak was good times.
“The winning streak was a lot of fun,” Paul said. “It’s been a long time since we felt a loss. Hell, let’s start a new one.”
However, Paul said he doesn’t remember much from the streak.
“I don’t remember too much,” he said. “I don’t remember when it started.”
Well, Chris, it started on October 30 against the Cavaliers.
Phoenix was without their leading scorer in Devin Booker(hamstring), and they lost Mikal Bridges, who did return, in the first half after he injured his hand, so not having Booker, you knew the Suns had to be at their best to beat the Warriors. Plus, the Warriors have now have won 12 straight at Chase Center.
Steph Curry, who struggled Tuesday as he shot 4/21 from the field, including 3/14 from downtown and finished 12 points, bounced back Friday. Curry scored 23 points(8/20 FG), including 6/11 from three-point range.
The two-time MVP is on the verge of surpassing Ray Allen as the all-team leader in threes made. Curry is the best shooter in NBA history, and Paul believes Curry’s dribbling ability separates him from other shooters.
“It ain’t just the shooting; it’s the handle,” Paul said. “It’s a lot of people that can shoot. A lot of people can’t handle the ball like that, and the confidence in how he shoots and the way he gets his team going. He just kept getting better and better.”
The Suns and Warriors will see each other again in Phoenix on Christmas, and based on what we saw this week, that game should be a lot of fun.
Phoenix is off until Monday when they return home to battle the Spurs.
Watch below as Paul talks the end of the 18-game win streak, and the handles of Steph Curry:
After this week, we may know who is the best team in the Western Conference, and possibly the NBA. The Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors play two times this week, starting on Tuesday in Phoenix. The two teams will play again on Friday at Chase Center.
Currently, the Warriors(18-2), who have the best record in basketball, are on a seven-game winning streak, and during that streak, Golden State has outscored opponents, 112.0 to 97.6 points per game while the Suns(17-3), who have the second-best record in the NBA, are on a 16-game winning streak.
Tuesday’s game marks the first time in NBA history that two teams from the same division with winning percentages above .850 meet over 20 games into a season (sixth time in NBA history regardless of division or conference).
In addition, if Phoenix wins tonight, this would be their 17th-straight win, which would match the longest winning streak in franchise history (also did so during 2006-07 season).
This could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. According to Devin Booker, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week, the Western Conference champions want to win championships like Golden State.
“They’re battle-tested, they’re champions,” Booker said about Warriors on Monday. “They’ve done everything that I’m trying to get to… You have two talented teams that know how to play against each other. Now, it’s coming down to competing for the full 48 minutes…
“This is primetime basketball. This is what people pay to watch, people pay to see; I’m excited to be a part of it.”
With a win, the Suns would move to 18-3 on the season, matching the franchise record for best record through the first 21 games of a season.
Look, it’s early, and there is a lot of basketball left to be played. However, these two games should be a lot of fun. Both teams want to send a message, and this would be an excellent time to send that message.
Listen below as Booker talks big game against Golden State:
The Cavaliers were again without many of their key players on Thursday night against the Warriors. They were missing Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Cedi Osman, and Lamar Stevens. Also, they were playing the second half of a back-to-back after losing to Brooklyn on Wednesday night.
Cleveland took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter but was outscored 36-8 in the final period, and Golden State would defeat the Cavs 104-89 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavaliers(9-8) have now lost three straight while the Warriors(13-2) have won nine of 10.
Here is the Great, the Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Warriors.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Cleveland had five players in double figures led by Darius Garland, who scored 18 of his team and season-high 25 points in the first half. In that first half, Garland was 7/12 from the field, including four threes.
-Kevin Love scored 11 of his 17 points in the third quarter off the bench. Love was on fire in third as he was 3/4 from the field, including 2/3 from downtown. This was his second straight solid performance after he missed eight games due to COVID.
-Dean Wade gave the Cavs 17 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in 40 minutes of action. He also made three threes.
-Ed Davis got his second consecutive start on Thursday night, and he did a great job on the glass. Davis, who started at center, had seven points, grabbed 13 of his game-high 14 rebounds in the first half, and added two blocks. The 13 rebounds in a half is a career-high for Davis.
Third Quarter: Cleveland had another extraordinary third quarter. After outscoring the Nets 32-19 in the third on Wednesday night, the Cavs outscored the Warriors 27-17 in the quarter. Golden State shot only 41.2% from the field, including 2/8 from three-point range. Love scored 11 points, and the Cavaliers took a 13-point lead into the fourth(81-68). However, the fourth quarter was a different story.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland led 81-68 entering the fourth, but the Warriors, mainly Steph Curry, woke up. The two-time MVP scored 20 of his game-high 40 points in the quarter, including four threes. Golden State went on a 17-0 run to start the fourth to take the lead. Cleveland went almost six minutes without a point.
The Warriors outscored the Cavs 36-8 in the final period. Cleveland went cold as they shot 2/14 from the field, including 0-7 from downtown.
Turnovers: The Cavaliers did not take care of the ball against the Warriors, and they finished with 20 turnovers, including seven by Garland.
For 36 minutes, it appeared the Cavs could pull off the upset, but the Warriors are one of the best teams in the league for a reason, and it showed. Despite the loss, Cleveland can hold their heads high. They battled two of the best teams in basketball, with 80% percent of their opening-day starting lineup in street clothes. Now, they get three days off, which will give players time to get healthy.
“Stephen Curry is a hell of a basketball player,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The shots he was making weren’t easy.”