The Boston Celtics regained the top spot in the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. At home for the first time in the series, the Celtics pulled out of the Warriors to win 116-100 in Game Three on Wednesday night. Boston, who led 2–1 in the Finals, withstood an onslaught in the third quarter from Golden State, putting the game away in the fourth. Gaylen Brown (27 points), Jason Tatum (26) and Marcus Smart (24) collected 77 points to lead the Celtics, who advanced by 18 points in the first half.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points high in a game of 12 of 22 and had 15 points in the third quarter as the Warriors held the lead temporarily. Klay Thompson had his best game of the series, adding 25 points, but that wasn’t enough. Draymond Green struggled, scoring only two points and adding three assists before losing in the fourth quarter
Boston is now 7-0 after losing in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Golden State is also undefeated in 2022 after the defeat, and the Warriors have won at least one game in their past 26 game series. The fourth game takes place Friday night in Boston.
Here are three main points from Game 3.
The Celtics’ balanced attack counteracts the rush of the warriors
Here are fun stats to show how much Boston’s team liked in Game 3: Tatum, Brown and Smart are the first trio to each have 20 points, five assists, and five rebounds in a Final since 1984, According to ESPN statistics and information. The last trio to do so, only the Showtime Lakers with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper.
Brown started things early with the Celtics, putting up 17 points in the first quarter to ignite the Boston crowd and help Team C jump to the top early. He was knocking in 3 seconds, hitting the free throw line and working in some mid-range jumpers to show his full offensive skill set for Golden State. Although Brown did the bulk of his damage in the first quarter – scoring just 10 points over the next three quarters – it didn’t matter because Smart and Tatum took the baton from him for the rest of the match. Smart’s performance was particularly noteworthy, given his two-point blast in game two. He came to the edge easily and had some favorable laps from outside the arc to help Boston maintain their edge at crucial moments.
But it wasn’t just the Big Three from Tatum, Brown and Smart who got it done for the Celtics. Grant Williams gave Boston massive minutes off the bench, collecting his best performance of the series with 10 points and five rebounds. The same is true of Robert Williams III, who was just two points shy of a double (eight points, 10 boards). Although Robert Williams had a knee injury, he still looked nimble on the ground, finishing the match by four blocks on the night. With him patrolling the edge, the Warriors were limited to just 26 points in paint, a steep drop from the 40 they made in Game 2.
Although the Celtics nearly let things fall apart in the third quarter – again – they were able to withstand a massive performance from Curry to top the series 2-1.
The warriors lost, but Clay might come back
Entering Game 3, Thompson joked about what he would do to restore his shooting touch for the series. After all, he was shooting only 30.3 percent of the field, and he was 4 of 15 in 3 seconds.
“Oh my gosh, maybe it’s just a 6 Klay on YouTube because there were some really stressful situations I’ve been in,” Thompson said. “I ended up hitting the ball really well. When you can do it with your back against the wall, you can do it at any moment. It’s just about maintaining that mental strength.”
I’m not sure if Thompson actually made some of his best hits from the playoffs ahead of Wednesday’s game, but whatever he did, he definitely worked. Thompson shot 41.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from depth to finish with a total of 25 points. He’s been punishing the Celtics every time one of their greatest went to cover competition in pick-and-roll, and he’s shown he can create for himself in the arc, too.
The only problem, though, is that even his rebounding performance wasn’t enough to lift the Warriors to victory. However, while Golden State is still a loser, seeing Thompson heat up in Game 3 should be an encouraging sign for the Warriors moving forward.
Curry’s potential injury could change the chain
Late in the fourth quarter, players from both teams were diving to the ground for a loose ball. By the time the whistle was sounded and everyone gathered, Carrie was still on the floor writhing in pain. He slowly got up and was limping and remained in the game, but it didn’t look the same after that incident. The replay showed that Horford had inadvertently fallen on Curry’s leg between a stampede on the floor. After the match, Curry said he was experiencing pain in his foot, but was hoping he could play in Game 4.
Here is a look at the play:
After the match, Warriors coach Steve Kerr refused to give any details, saying, “We will know more (Thursday).”
Thompson also spoke about Curry’s injury: “Steve is going to do everything in his power to play. I really hope he’s OK because that’s who we are.”
Thompson hit his head straight. Curry was the Warriors’ undisputed best player throughout the playoffs, and even in Game 3, his 15-point third-quarter performance was the reason Golden State came back in this game. We’ll have to wait to see what the Warriors say about any potential injury, but if Curry isn’t 100% healthy going forward, Golden State will be in trouble. The fact that Curry will only have a day off from now until Friday for Game 4 makes matters worse anytime a recovery is needed.