The Boston Celtics are two wins away from claiming the NBA championship.
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points, Jayson Tatum had 26 and Marcus Smart added 24 as the Celtics used a fourth-quarter push to defeat the Golden State Warriors 116-110 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday. With a 2-1 series lead, Boston is halfway to the 18th title in franchise history.
The Warriors find themselves in a hole, with an additional concern in Steph Curry’s health. The star point guard sustained an apparent injury late in the fourth quarter.
Curry scored a game-high 31 points before he was hurt. Klay Thompson had his best game of the series for Golden State with 25 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 18.
Curry banged up late in loss
Curry was down on the court in pain with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter after he and other players tried to corral a loose basketball. As Curry dove to the floor, Boston’s Al Horford appeared to fall on Curry’s left leg.
It’s unknown how problematic the issue is for Curry and the Warriors. “We’ll know more (Thursday),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in an odd exchange with a reporter.
Curry checked out of the game with 2:19 left, with Kerr saying, “I took him out with two minutes left because we were down by 14 points.”
Asked if there was no concern moving forward, Kerr replied, “I didn’t say that. The injury didn’t force him out of the game.”
Curry said although he’s “in some pain,” he doesn’t feel like he’ll be sidelined.
“I’ll be alright. I got caught — obviously in some pain, but I’ll be alright,” Curry said. “See how it feels (Thursday) and get ready for Friday. … Don’t feel like I’ll miss a game. Take advantage of these next 48 hours to get ready.”
Said Warriors guard Klay Thompson: “We need him if we want to win this thing. I know Steph is going to do everything he can in his power to play. I am really hoping he’s okay because he’s our identity, and without him, it will be very difficult.”
Steph appeared to be in pain after scrambling for a ball late in the fourth quarter pic.twitter.com/nRkBaWfCSA
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) June 9, 2022
Celtics survive Warriors’ third-quarter surge to take 2-1 series lead
The Boston Celtics withstood the Golden State Warriors’ third quarter onslaught for a 116-100 victory in Game 3 that gave them a 2-1 series lead.
After the Warriors took an 83-82 lead on Stephen Curry’s 3-pointer with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter, the Celtics went on a 20-8 run at the end of the third and start of the fourth that gave them a 102-91 lead. They cruised from there.
The Celtics went to their big lineup that featured 6-foot-9 Al Horford and 6-9 Robert Williams III. They controlled the interior, contested Golden State’s shots, forced turnovers and were never in serious trouble in the fourth quarter.
Game 4 in Friday in Boston.
Tipico’s Best Bet
For the Celtics
6/10, 9:00 PM ET
Jaylen Brown and Jaylen Brown paced the Celtics with 27 and 26 points, respectively.
Curry had 31 points for the Warriors and was involved in a rare seven-point possession in the third quarter that reinvigorated the Warriors.
Horford was called for a Flagrant 1 foul for not allowing Curry to land safely while shooting a three, which Curry made despite landing on Horford’s feet. Curry made the flagrant free throw and the Warriors maintained possession. That possession lead to a 3-point shot from Otto Porter, marking a seven-point possession (82-73 to 82-80) and big swing for the Warriors.
But after Curry gave the Warriors a brief lead, the Celtics regained control.
Bill Belichick, Nia Long, more celebs pack TD Garden
Bill Belichick is rooting for the home team.
“Start off with a big go Celtics,” the New England Patriots head coach said during a press conference on Wednesday, while wearing a Boston Celtics hat. “Big one tonight here. I’m sure fans will be out in full force, and see if we can bring this one home.”
Turns out, Belichick is one of the fans in attendance, in addition to Patriots CEO Robert Kraft. Coach was not alone. Patriots stars James White, Dont’a Hightower, Damien Harris, Davon Godchaux and Byron Cowart also attended the game.
Celebrities turned out in force. Nia Long, the fiancé of Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, was also in attendance with the couple’s 10-year-old son Kez.
— NBA (@NBA) June 9, 2022
Rappers Nelly (who is performing at halftime) and Jadakiss, Houston Rockets’ John Wall and Food Network star Guy Fieri were also taking in the game, in addition to Celtics greats Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker, Bill Walton, Charlie Scott, ML Carr, Leon Powe, Dana Barros and Eddie House.
— NBA (@NBA) June 9, 2022
Al Horford Flagrant foul on Steph Curry leads to seven-point possession
Al Horford was called for a Flagrant 1 foul for not allowing Steph Curry to land safely while shooting a three, which Curry made despite landing on Horford’s feet. Curry made the flagrant free throw and the Warriors maintained possession. That possession lead to a three point jumper from Otto Porter, marking a seven-point possession (82-73 to 82-80) and huge swing for the Warriors.
The Warriors have outscored the Celtics 29-21 so far in the third quarter, thanks to Curry’s 15 points in the quarter.
STEPH FROM DEEP + THE FOUL 🤯 pic.twitter.com/W9Zg5f6Exn
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 9, 2022
Steph Curry quickly picks up fourth foul in third quarter
Steph Curry came out the third quarter cooking with two quick three pointers, but he found himself deeper in foul trouble after picking up his fourth with 9:11 to go in the third quarter. Curry was called for a shooting foul after reaching as Marcus Smart went up to his shooting motion beyond the arc. Curry couldn’t help but smile after picking up his fourth foul and even chatted with Smart afterwards. (We can only guess that Curry asked Smart if he fouled him.) Smart made all three of his free throws.
Steve Kerr didn’t challenge the call and left Curry in the game, despite his foul trouble. Kerr had no choice. Curry had 6 of the Warriors’ 8 points in the third quarter at that point.
Despite their lights-out shooting, the Celtics’ eight turnovers have helped keep the Warriors within striking distance. Golden State scored 14 points off of turnovers and only face a 12-point deficit.
Klay Thompson started to find his stroke following a shooting slump. He leads the Warriors with 15 points on 4-for-9 from the field and 3-7 from three after missing his first three shots. Steph Curry has 14 points, but is in foul trouble with three. Andrew Wiggins scored 13 points. Can the Warriors turn in one of their well-known third-quarter blitzes to get back into the game?
Draymond Green, Grant Williams separated by refs; no techs called
Grant Williams and Draymond Green are chirping early after Williams was called for an offensive foul on Green following an illegal screen. Green enthusiastically clapped after the whistle and got tangled up with Williams, who tired to run through him while getting back. They had to be separated by refs, but neither earned a technical for the pushing.
The Celtics complained after Game 2 that the Warriors “got away with a lot,” primarily Green, who avoided a second technical after a similar dust-up with Jaylen Brown.
“That’s what Draymond Green does. He’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Brown said after Game 2. “He’ll pull you, he’ll grab you, he’ll try to muck the game up because that’s what he does for their team. It’s nothing to be surprised about. Nothing I’m surprised about.”
Draymond Green and Grant Williams exchange words after an illegal screen. pic.twitter.com/iiqZBtbL0H
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 9, 2022
Nelly performing at halftime
Hip hop star Nelly and Celtics star Jayson Tatum are longtime friends. And they both performed at TD Garden in Game 3 on Wednesday.
Tatum started heating up in the second quarter to help lead the Celtics maintain their lead, and Nelly is performing at halftime.
Nelly, whose hit albums include Country Grammar (2000) and Nellyville (2002), and Tatum are both from St. Louis.
Celtics outscore the Warriors 33-22 in the first quarter
The Celtics came out to gate red hot, going on a 10-2 run against the Warriors. And they kept their foot on the gas, outscoring Golden State 33-22 in the first quarter. Everything seemed to go right for Boston, who shot 54.5% from the field as a team (12-for-22) and 40% from three (4-for-10). Jaylen Brown leads the Celtics with 17-first quarter points, while Jayson Tatum is off to another slow start with only three points.
The Warriors struggled to get going offensively in the first quarter. Although they are known for their stellar shooting beyond the arc, Golden State shot a poor 20% from three, going 2-10. Klay Thompson’s shooting woes continued. He has 5 points, shooting 1-for-4 from the field and 1-for-3 from three. Steph Curry leads the Warriors with 7 points, but he picked up two fouls.
“They came right at us and Jaylen Brown had a big quarter,” Steve Kerr said after the first quarter. “We weathered the storm, but we have to play better defense.”
— Cydney Henderson
Steve Kerr not concerned with Klay Thompson’s shooting
Klay Thompson has had big playoffs games during his celebrated career.
There was his Game 6 performance in the second round this season against the Memphis Grizzlies in which he scored 30 points on 8-of-14 3-pointers. He also once scored 41 points, which included making 11-of h18 3-pointers, in 2016 in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But he has struggled mightily in the Finals. He shot 4 of 19 from the field and finished with 11 points.
When asked about Klay’s poor shooting in Game 2, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told NBATV’s Jared Greenburg, “This has been something that’s happened throughout Klay’s career. It’s really not a big deal, it’s just the Finals; there’s a huge spotlight on it. But he’s never been a guy that gets to the foul line a lot, never been a guy that uses athleticism to get to the rim and get easy buckets. He’s a jump shooter, one of the greatest of all time. There are just night when shots don’t go in. So the focus is just keep shooting, see if you can get a couple of good ones early. Klay gets his rhythm with one shot.”
— Larry Starks
Gamesmanship or honest mistake with rim height?
Warriors play-by-play announcer Tim Roye tweeted, “Some of the Dubs complained about the height of the basket and they were right.” The Celtics’ gameday operations crew brought out a ladder and 10-foot measuring stick, and indeed, the rim was a couple of inches too high.
“It’s a good thing the game starts at midnight,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said jokingly. “We’ll have plenty of time to fix it. I assume they’re fixing it then, right? it happens every once in a while. Players have a really sharp eye for that. Players can tell. I imagine somebody went out there, looked at it, didn’t look right. So as long as they take care of it, then everything is good.”
Before the conspiracy theorists put too much tin foil on their caps, Boston has to shoot on that end of the court in one half. Unless of course, it was fixed after Golden State used that rim in the first half and before the Celtics shot at it in the second half …