The Golden State Warriors thought they were going to go up 1-0 in the NBA Finals before the Boston Celtics stormed back and showed everyone why they are one of the most resilient teams during this year’s playoffs.
Holding a 12-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors ran out of steam as the Celtics caught fire from the perimeter and outscored Golden State 40-16 in the final 12 minutes.
Steph Curry led all scorers with 34 points, including five three-pointers in the first quarter. Andrew Wiggins quietly chipped in 20 points on 15 shots, and Otto Porter Jr. hit 4-of-5 threes. The rest of the team was mostly quiet. If the Warriors are going to pose a threat in these Finals, a more balanced attack is necessary.
Boston is known to be one of the premier defenses in the league, so coach Steve Kerr and the Dubs will need to make adjustments to even up the series.
The defense was a major concern for the Dubs, allowing the Celtics to shoot 50.6% from the field, including 51.2% from three. However, Draymond Green didn’t sound too concerned about the team’s defense. He chalked it up to the Celtic’s hot shooting as an anomaly.
Draymond Green May Have Opened Up Pandora’s Box
Speaking with reporters after the game, Green may have given the Celtics bulletin board material. The Celtics won Game 1, but what Green said might alter the Celtics’ mindset, as if the Warriors were the ones who were up in the series.
“No, I think they stayed within striking distance, and they made shots late,” Green says matter of fact. “So we’ll be fine. We’ll figure out the ways we can stop them from getting those threes and take them away.
But no, I don’t think it was a rhythm thing. We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes. So we’ll be fine.”
Saying the Dubs dominated the game up to the last couple of minutes would be a stretch. The Celtics battled back from down double-digits twice, initially in the first half to take a 2-point lead at halftime, and also rallied in the final quarter to steal Game 1 from the Warriors.
Leading up to Game 2, the Celtics will be talking amongst themselves about what Green said postgame and will probably use it to come out looking to steal another one in the Bay Area.
Celtics Scorching Shooting May Not Just Be an Anomaly
People that have watched Boston closely will know how the role players are not always so consistent, especially with the way they shot the ball to finish off Game 1.
Draymond Green seems to fall under this camp, as he emphasizes how the secondary players went bonkers.
“They hit 21 threes, and Marcus Smart and Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15 of them. The guys are good shooters, but they combined for, what, 15 out of 8,” Green points out. “Smart, 7, 8, 15-for-23. My math right? 8, 7 and 8. Yeah, that’s 23, right. Yeah, 15-for-23 from those guys, eh, you know, so, we’ll be fine.”
Green does have a point with how the role players shot out of their minds from three. The underlying concern is the open looks Boston got from the perimeter.
Notice how there aren’t any Warriors defenders in the vicinity of the shooters. The ball movement from the Celtics was pristine. Almost every shot they got in the fourth quarter was making the extra pass, giving up a good shot for a great one.
If the Dubs want to win this series, they will need to make key adjustments to disrupt this sort of offensive flow from the Celtics. The Dubs will have their work cut out for them as they return for Game 2 on Sunday, June 5.